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Mainely Creative: Artwork, photographs and videos inspired by Maine and New England -- created by Bob Barancik
Bob Barancik
Bob Barancik is an award-winning artist and video producer. His work has been shown at major museums, libraries, and film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. Bob earned his B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design and M.A. in education from Stanford University. Please read Bob's bio for more information.
From Away: An Outsider Looks Inside Maine
From Away. That is how native Mainers describe the summer people who engulf their state and encroach on their individualistic way of life.

If you were not born in Maine and don't have at least three generations of forebears in a nearby churchyard, your roots are not really grounded in native soil. It is expected that the chill winds of winter and a highly cyclical economy will blow you south—to a warmer and less demanding climate.

Nonetheless, the locals have learned to accommodate themselves to a changing and more crowded world. You may even earn a Mainer's respect if you are highly skilled at anything mechanical or creative—provided you don't toot your own horn.

But being from away does have its unique perspectives and pleasures. When a summer person is in Maine, he or she is truly away from the job, daily routine, the usual hassles, and bill paying.

There are new sites and experiences, and time to reflect on them. A person from away can enjoy genuinely picturesque scenes of abandoned cottages and rusted hulls of derelict fishing boats. It is an admittedly romantic and limited view of things.

Although Maine is a land of rugged mountains, powerful rivers, clear lakes, and ponderous potato fields, it is the rocky seacoast that lures millions of tourists and part-time residents to the state. The granite cliffs, cold ocean tides, and squawking gulls beckon and bewitch the outsider. And keep many of us coming back summer after summer.

The part of coast and countryside that stole my heart was the Casco Bay region near Portland. It has inspired and transfixed me like no other area of the United States—and I have lived and traveled all over the country.

Although I am not entirely at home in Maine, I am at home with myself while I am here. There are no pressing business matters or meetings. All I really want to do is savor the seashore and meander around the working harbors and isolated villages. There are still communities that remember how to listen to the ocean, forest, and field. Sometimes I, too, hear the cyclical rhythms of nature that modern life has largely silenced.

My Maine summers are not especially grand, exotic, or expensive. Rather, they are largely spent observing the passage of an illuminating northern New England light over weathered and irregular surfaces. These beautiful and unexpected patches of reality are artifacts crafted by salt water, sun, wind, rain, and time.

So my camera is constantly snapping photos, and sable brushes are painting pictures. On good days, they tell me that some of the prosaic magic of Maine can be found in these images. It is a vision of the world that makes the present seem like forever.

Early in 2001, I underwent lifesaving surgery in Philadelphia, which had been my home for twenty years. Two weeks before the operation, my wife and I purchased a condominium in a century-old brick building on Portland's West Promenade. My intention was to either live or die by Casco Bay. Fortunately, it is the former.

I hope that the photos and art in this folio bring you joy and tempt you to visit Maine. If you permit yourself to wander about without expectations, your eyes will find what they need to see.

59 West Street
Unit 1
Portland, ME