2015 Photos of the Year
Date: 12/30/2015 Album ID: 2007535
Pages: 1 2
2015 Photos of the Year by the staff of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.
PORTLAND, ME - JUNE 17: Karen Renton is retiring after a 32-year career as a music teacher at Yarmouth Elementary School. Here she joins her pupils in an exciting and action packed song called Sasha.” She is full of energy and her pupils love her bright spirit and variety of tasks that help them learn to play music and enjoy a variety of different genres. (Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer)

Reporter Leslie Bridgers and I visited the music teacher’s class on one of her last days and were amazed at her energy and love for her pupils. I knew I had to capture that energy and spirit and got up high to make sure I got the whole class in focus with her at the center during the climactic refrain of the latin dance number when they yell “Sasha!. It was truly a joy to see how a great music teacher transfers her knowledge, passion and enjoyment of music to her students.
KENNEBUNK, ME - JANUARY 27: A lone car makes its way down the southbound lane of a deserted Maine Turnpike in Kennebunk during a blizzard on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. More than two feet of snow fell in parts of Maine during the blizzard and blustery winds reduced visibility, making driving difficult. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

During the January blizzard, the wind drove the heavy snow and reduced visibility, keeping many motorists off the roads. I had to trudge through deep snow to get to a bridge over the Maine Turnpike and waited 30 minutes for a car to pass below on the deserted highway. I think this photo succeeds because the solitary car reinforces the sense of desolation of the turnpike. I had made a few frames of the empty highway earlier but those didnt convey the desolation as strongly as this image.
STONINGTON, ME - SEPTEMBER 5: Genevieve McDonald fills up her boat with diesel fuel before heading out for a day of lobstering off the coast of Stonington. During the summer of 2012, when ocean temperatures reached their highest level ever recorded, McDonald saw dozens and dozens of longfin squid near Isle au Haut. Longfin squid are a temperate species not normally found in the Gulf of Maine.  (Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

I photographed Genevieve McDonald filling her lobster boat with diesel fuel in September while working on a series of stories about warming ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine. I have photographed numerous lobstering stories during my 18 years at the Press Herald and have almost always found Stonington harbor to be shrouded in fog, so I was glad to find a clear day with the sun rising. I climbed on top of the cabin roof of McDonalds boat to get an elevated view of the sun rising over Stonington harbor.
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 18: Maria Nikolova, left, Caroline Paradise, center and Mark Baxter haul lines as the Picton Castle sails into Portland Harbor during the Parade of Sail on Saturday, July 18, 2015. The Picton Castle is a steel-hulled, three-masted barque named after a castle in England. It was built in 1928 as a fishing trawler and was pressed into service as a minesweeper during World War II. It was converted into the sailing barque now used by trainees, when it underwent a $2 million retrofit in its home port of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, in 1996. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

I boarded the Picton Castle in Gloucester, Massachusetts and sailed with the crew up to Portland for the Parade of Ships in July. Even though I was on board to take photos and write a story for the Press Herald, I was expected to participate in watches twice a day, which ran from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and involved things like hoisting sails, cleaning the deck, washing the dishes after dinner and even steering the ship. While not on watch, I had ample time to take photos and interview the crew and trainees. In this photo, sail trainees haul on lines to raise one of the barques numerous sails during the Parade of Sail into Portland Harbor. I like this photo because it gives viewers an idea of the amount of effort and grit it takes to be a crew member on a large sailing ship.
PORTLAND, ME - SEPTEMBER 29: Jane Footer fixes her bed at the Oxford St. Shelter in Portland as her dog Timmy rests nearby Tuesday, September 29, 2015. Footer has been homeless and sleeping at the shelter for the past two months as she looks for affordable housing.  She had been living in an apartment on Wilmot Street for years when she was notified in April that the run-down building was being sold and renovated, and shed have to leave. Footer recently found housing in a studio apartment at a subsidized senior housing complex.  Im very, very happy and grateful, she said. Its a lovely place. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)
 
This photo was part of a larger story on housing in Portland. I followed Jane who was homeless for several weeks as she searched for a new place to live in a surging and unforgiving rental market. Jane was very open with us, allowing me into her world at a time when she was struggling to figure out where she belongs.  The thing I like about this image is how brings the readers to a place they normally wouldn't see and hopefully gives them a better understanding of what it may be like to spend the night in a shelter.
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 18: The tall ship Columbia makes its way into Portland Harbor during the parade featuring tall ships Saturday, July 18, 2015. Tens of thousands turned out to view the 13 tall ships during the four day festival. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)
 
As a photographer this was one of those days when you feel very fortunate to do what you do for a living.  I spent a couple hours flying over Portland Harbor watching the tall ships arrive.  Not a bad day.  There was some stress with the assignment however, as the plane circled in and out of Portland Harbor I was loosing cell phone reception and having difficulty sending my photos back to my editor.  Eventually I was able to send the images and they were on our website before the plane landed.  The thing I like about this image is the contrast between the tall ship and the other boats on the water that day.
SACO, ME - JANUARY 27: The wind sends snow swirling as Gary Plante of Saco snowblows his driveway in Saco on Tuesday and his dog, Biscuit, barks at the snowblower. Tuesday, January 27, 2015.  Also in the photo is his dog biscuit who was barking at the snowblower. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)

While covering a snowstorm that dumped more than two feet on parts of Maine I was roaming around my hometown of Saco photographing neighbors shoveling out, playing in the snow and snowblowing their driveways.  After several hours of hunting for photos, I decided it was time call it a day and go home and make a final edit.  I almost passed this opportunity up.  I thought I had enough good images and it was getting late.  But the light, the wind and dog changed my mind.  After a few minutes of barking at me, Biscuit went back to barking at the snowblower.  And thats when I made this image.  I'm glad I stopped.
YARMOUTH, ME - FEBRUARY 13: Sgt. Robert Burke of the Maine State Police salutes along with other officers from local communities as Canine Officer Shane Stephenson of the South Portland Police Department carries Sultan, a retired police dog into the Yarmouth Veterinary Center where he was euthanized Friday, February 13, 2015. Sultan served the Yarmouth Police Department before his retirement, then became Stephenson's pet. After more than two years in retirement Sultan's health began to fail.  He was too weak to stand and stopped eating. Stephenson knew it was time. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)
 
While trying to balance making video and photographs on this assignment, I almost missed the photo.  I had just made a video clip of Stephenson carrying Sultan towards the veterinary center.  As he passed by, I saw this moment happening and quickly switched to still photos and managed to make this image.  There were several nice moments that happened in a short window of time and I felt like I missed many of them.  As I left the assignment I was afraid I didn't get enough photos or video to do the story justice.  But in the end I had just enough of both.  The video went on to get over a million views.
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 18: The schooner The Bowdoin comes to port during the Tall Ships festival, while spectators wave and watch at the Maine State Pier in Portland, ME on Saturday, July 18, 2015. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer) 

For the Tall Ships festival this past July, we had photographers stationed at multiple points in Casco Bay, on one of the ships, and even shooting aerial images from a plane flying over the bay. For my part of this day, I was photographing the boats as they traveled to the Maine State Pier, where a large portion of the crowds had gathered to watch. The Bowdoin was the first ship visible to spectators waiting on the pier, and their reaction to seeing this boat, despite it being one of the smaller boats of the festival, was much more animated than when the later boats came into port. To me, my job that day wasn't really to photograph the ships, but rather to capture the human aspect of the festival, and I think this photograph serves the purpose well.
WESTBROOK, ME - MAY 27: Kate Hall practices at the Westbrook High School track before she goes to workout with her personal trainer in Westbrook, ME on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Hall, the National Long Jump record holder and 2015 champion, maintained a rigorous workout schedule during the high school track season. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer)

On this day, I followed Hall throughout her regular workout regimen. Hall did her normal personal workout at the Westbrook high school track, traveled to the MOG gym to work out with her personal trainer,  went to her regular high school track practice at Lake Regions High School, and then to her part-time job as an ice cream scooper at the Ice Cream Dugout in Windham. All of this is in one day, and Hall is an incredibly determined and hard working athlete. For this image, I set up two speed lights on opposite sides of the track, and photographed Kate as she did short burst sprints, intending to come away with a peak action image as she was running her hardest. I have those images, and they are perfectly fine images, but as Kate finished her last sprint and was walking back, something about her expression and body language made me want to keep photographing. The more I got to know Kate, and was able to see the pensive cool she was able to maintain during the most stressful moments before her track events, this picture I think speaks to that element of her personality, more so than an image of her running could.
PORTLAND, ME - MARCH 27: Josh Blanchard hold up a PBA pin, as he jokingly recreates his celebration process after making a strike at the Professional Bowling Association tournament at Bayside Bowling in Portland, ME on Friday, March 27, 2015. I'm pretty animated, I fist bump, I'll yell at the crowd. The crowd is what brings the excitement to me, Blanchard said. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer)

When I'm making a portrait, I talk to the person first by asking a couple of fairly simple questions, to try and get a grasp of their personality, and what image could best reflect that personality. I could tell fairly quickly Blanchard wasn't shy, and would be totally game for a couple of ridiculous portrait attempts. A couple of other bowlers had mentioned individual players have their own quirks in celebrating a good strike, and when I asked Blanchard if he could recreate his, this is the image I was able to come away with.
WESTBROOK, ME - JUNE 27: Brook-lynn Baker, 6, holds her cousin William Pinkerton Jr., 1, in the hot tub of the Super 8 in Westbrook, after the home they were renting was condemned by the city of Westbrook, ME, leaving them temporarily homeless on Saturday, June 27, 2015. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer)

I'm so grateful to the people and families who regularly let me come into their lives and photograph, and this family was no exception. Twenty three residents in total were displaced after dangerous wiring was discovered at a rental home in Westbrook, which is where this family was previously living. Power was out in multiple parts of the building, and residents were forced to run extension cords through the building to maintain power in their units. A tenant complained to the city of Westbrook, an the building was condemned. With nowhere else to go, effectively homeless, they were forced to temporarily relocated to a Super 8 in Westbrook. Brook-lynn's mother told me over and over how thankful they were the Super 8 had a pool. School was out for the summer, and there were multiple children in their household, with absolutely no outdoor grassy area they could run around and play. This image, to me, tells that aspect of their stay at the Super 8, and also, hopefully, provides some humanity to the housing issues we frequently cover at the Press Herald.
PORTLAND, ME - FEBRUARY 27: Presque Isle guard Taylor Williams and Greely forward Moira Train fall as they both attempt to gain possession of the ball during the Class B girls State Championship game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, ME on Friday, February 27, 2015. Greely overtook Presque Isle and won the Class B Championship 56-39. In the second quarter of this game, Greely made a huge gains over Presque Isle, and the half ended with Greely ahead by 23 points. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer) 

I made this photo shortly after the beginning of the second half, when Preque Isle came out playing aggressively in an attempt to quickly close the gap. With how Presque Isle was playing, I knew it was pretty likely there would be an aggressive scramble for the ball, and I positioned myself lower toward the court to ensure my frame would not be too high for good eye contact.
PORTLAND, ME - JUNE 22: Hamdi Hassan, 19, of Portland is overcome with emotion while chanting black lives matter with a group of young audience members who were among hundreds who gathered at Merrill Auditorium on June 22, 2015, to honor the nine people were gunned down during a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Im so tired. Im just tired, Hassan said later. Im happy that Im black. I think its beautiful. But its just difficult when people hate my skin color. (Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)

This was an image that was made in part by patience. The event, which lasted for about an hour, and had consisted of important speeches from religious and civic leaders, as well as beautiful performances from local choirs, was unremarkable visually. I could sense a tension building however, especially with the younger audience members, and had a feeling that they would make their voices heard at the conclusion of the event. As they began to chant, after most had already left the auditorium, I noticed that a few were becoming overcome with emotion. I focussed on this young woman and made this image as a tear fell from her eye.
PORTLAND, ME - AUGUST 12: Portland paramedics respond to a call of a heroin overdose on Congress Street near the intersection of India Street on August 12, 2015. The 29 year-old woman was found unconscious by a passerby after she had injected herself with 1/4 gram of heroin. Officials say emergency crews across Maine are responding to heroin overdoses much more frequently. On July 31, emergency crews in Portland responded to 14 suspected overdoses in a 24-hour period, alarming city officials. (Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)

This was a difficult image to make for obvious reasons. While riding along with Portland paramedics, we arrived at the scene of a reported overdose from heroin, where a woman lay unconscious on the sidewalk of a busy street. It was an intense and frightening scene, and at first I wasnt sure if she was alive. I made images of the initial scene, taking precautions to stay out of the way of emergency workers and respect the privacy of the patient by making images that didnt reveal her identity. This image of the paramedics taking her away in an ambulance was the most successful in telling the story of the stark reality of many heroin addicts.
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 18: One of 344 swimmers takes a stroke while approaching the finish line at East End Beach in Portland during the Peaks to Portland swim on July 18, 2015. The annual 2.4 mile swim, from Peaks Island across Casco Bay, raises money for swimming and aquatics classes at YMCA facilities in Portland, Freeport, Biddeford and New Gloucester. (Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer) 

While the image of hundreds of people swimming across Casco Bay is wonderful and strange, and never gets old, it can be difficult to capture in a way that looks unique. As I watched the swimmers come in towards the beach, I was looking for something that might make a nice detail. The light was perfect to contrast the droplets of water against the light sky and the way they fell from the swimmers hand created a sense of movement and made this image work.
PORTLAND, ME - OCTOBER 7: Anthony Boyd, 9, blows out a candle after a vigil is held for Capt. Mike Davidson, one four Mainers who were on the El Faro cargo ship when it sank near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin. About 200 friends, neighbors and family members gathered at cul-de-sac in Windham on October 7, 2015, where his family lives, to honor the memory of Davidson. (Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)

I captured this image after the speakers had finished and the event was winding down. As people left the vigil, many of them left candles beside a framed photograph of the lost captain, and this young boy began blowing out the candles. I think this photo works well because the lighting from the candles gives a dramatic feeling that is both dark and somber, but also warming and bright. It also symbolizes the finality of his life.
Jay Russo, 47, of Scarborough, takes a moment to reflect while sitting in a tub of water after he was baptized for the second time at Eastpoint Christian Church by pastor Scott Taube on Sunday, January 11, 2015. To his left is Russo's daughter, Madeline, 10, who laid her hands on her father throughout the service. For Russo, the baptism represented a chance to put behind him a failed marriage and troublesome employers, a chance to start a new life and join a religion that he said fits him better than his previous church.

This was one of the first in our now regular series, “That Moment.” When starting a new project it’s easy to get a few jitters as you try and establish a strong visual direction. Going into the assignment the one thing I was sure of was trying to get an intimate photograph. The story hinges on our readers feeling as if they are witness to these critical life moments. Using a wide angle lens I stayed close to Jay and his daughter during the baptism and kept waiting while trying to stay out of the ceremony. I didn’t know exactly what I was waiting for, but when I saw Jay take a moment of reflection I immediately moved in and worked the scene.
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