Telling Maine’s stories

As a longtime photojournalist, I love good documentary work.  My favorite work tends to come from master visual storytellers like W. Eugene Smith (his iconic photo of Tomoko in her Bath, from his Minimata project, is still one of my top-five images of all time).

So I guess I was predisposed to like the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.   And it wasn’t much of a leap for me to ask Donna Galluzzo, Salt’s executive director, to participate in this week’s issue of Inspire Portland.   A photographer herself, Galluzzo has repositioned Salt for the future with a new space and a transformation to using digital tools for all of its tracks (radio, photography, writing).

She well understands that the tools may change, but good storytelling does not.  Looking at the work of her students, it’s quite timeless—in the way that Minimata would be as powerful today as it was almost four decades ago.

We met and I photographed Galluzzo in Salt’s sleek new headquarters on Congress Street—yep, that’s a bamboo floor you see in the photo.   I’ve posted a few outtakes from the shoot, though in this instance I knew what I was going for and moved around less than I normally would.    You can see our multiple light setup in one of the photos, with my assistant Charlie playing the part of subject.

I’m quite happy with the final image we used on Inspire Portland.  It’s less storytelling and more evocative.  To me, it gives a feel for the optimism and energy that Galluzzo brings to Salt and that Salt, with its body of storytellers, brings to Portland and Maine.  Enjoy.


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