Yesterday I had the absolute privilege of photographing at a naturalization ceremony in Portland, where I witnessed 80 people from over 30 countries become citizens. In addition to photographing the ceremony, I set up a mini studio to make portraits of those who crossed this final milestone.
In this part of Maine, blueberries are huge. With the exception of potatoes, blueberries are the state's massive agricultural industry. Unlike most modernized agriculture, the blueberries are still mostly harvested by hand. Washington County Maine produces 85 percent of the world's wild blueberries. Many of these rakers bring their entire families to Maine for this short season, usually housed in the living quarters abutting the wide swaths of flat tree-less land where the berries grow, known as the barrens. Most families are come to Maine from the Micmac Nation in Canada, or from families who originally come from Mexico/Central America. The buses run 260 miles from the school, winding down long gravel roads to the fields to pick up children as young as 3 years old. *Many students could not have their faces visible for various reasons - it's not that I have a particular affinity for backs of heads.
Of all of the towns in Southern Maine, I've got to say, Biddeford is probably my favorite. Looking at it today, you'd never know it was once dubbed "Trash Town USA," its namesake derived from the massive trash incinerator close to the heart of the town. Once the incinerator was shut down, slowly but surely a swath of interesting businesses began crawling in, some from Maine, others from higher living cost areas like Manhattan, seeking cheaper real-estate. I went with fellow PPH coworker and reporter Gillian Graham to photograph some of the new growth.