Photographer Ed Kenney and his dog
Photo by Wendy Palmer

My early experience with photography was like that of many others who were introduced to the field as a child by way of a Kodak box camera with the really cool name of “Hawkeye.” Since then, there have been few periods in my life when a camera of one form or another was not close at hand. There was often one nearby during eight years in the military, then through college. In fact, my master’s thesis employed a photographic technique for data analysis, and there was usually a small camera in my briefcase during a career in biotechnology.

In 1968 I returned from my second overseas tour, and I was assigned to a small training detachment in Maine. That year two seminal events occurred in my photographic journey: I fell in love with the State, and I discovered the photography of Eliot Porter. Somehow, I acquired a copy of Porter’s book In Wildness is the Preservation of the World, and it fundamentally changed me. His carefully composed, razor-sharp images are stunning, and with the early endorsement of Alfred Stieglitz, he helped legitimize color photography. His love of nature along with a lifelong fondness for Maine—especially Penobscot Bay where I live—made for an easy connection to his work.

The Kodak of my youth was eventually replaced by an adjustable 35mm rangefinder, and that gave way to a series of single-lens reflex cameras. The film camera sequence progressed through medium format, a panoramic camera, and reached its conclusion with an Arca-Swiss 4x5 in 2007—the year photography became a more serious pursuit. One year later, my seriousness of purpose led directly to a brush with schizophrenia as I attempted to master the view camera whilst trying to clamber up the digital learning curve. Although I still occasionally expose a sheet of film to keep myself grounded, I have gone over to the dark side, and my work today—from exposure to print—is digital.

Early in the self-styled “serious period” it was my good fortune to participate in workshops with Jack Dykinga, Sam Abell, and several other photographers whose work has influenced my own. Many of them have become friends over the years, and to a person they have been generous with their time, encouragement, and advice.

In the past few years, I have had exhibitions at the Morso Gallery in Gig Harbor, Washington, the Boothbay Region Art Foundation Gallery in Boothbay Harbor, and the headquarters of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Rockland. Several images from my early work were published in the Bell and Howell series Discovering Science; more recently photos have appeared in Overland Journal and Maine Boats Homes & Harbors.

My book The Winter Coast of Maine was published in 2021 by Seapoint Books. It is the first book of color photography comprised of coastal Maine images created during a season that few casual visitors get to experience. Copies are available at fine book sellers everywhere, including Photo Eye in Santa Fe, and at Amazon. Signed copies are also available directly from me, and each is accompanied by a 13 x 19 print for $300. I also make and ship custom prints as my schedule permits.

The array of collections on this website is an indication of my fondness for traveling to distant places to commit photography, but most of my work is done where I live—the coast of Maine. The landscape with its almost endless shoreline, the weather, the light, all coalesce to make it an ideal source of inspiration and images.

It is said that there are Mainers by birth and Mainers by choice. That strikes me as something said mostly by folks in the second category, but I am delighted to be a member of that group.

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