This winter I had the pleasure and fortune to photograph Maine lobsterman Ted Ames who was named a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow. Ted has agreed to be in my upcoming portrait photography exhibit entitled: “Mainiacs – Portraits of Prominent Mainers”
So, one day Ted received a phone call from the MacArthur foundation informing him that he had been anonymously nominated and had been named a MacArthur fellow. What does that mean? It meant that Ted would receive $500,000.00 with no strings attached over a five-year period. His selection was based on the remarkable research he has conducted on the fishing industry in the Gulf of Maine.
To read about the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow, click here.
Ted used the money to further his research on fishing in the Gulf of Maine by creating the Penobscot East Resource Center.
From the moment I met Ted, it was obvious that he is a man of very high intelligence. Just his gaze–extremely penetrating–demonstrated his intense level of focus. And his appearance is completely disarming, as he showed up for our portrait session in his regular work day clothes (which is what I asked him to do): Carhart jacket, Bean boots, denim jeans and red flannel shirt.
To start the portrait session, I told Ted I’d like to photograph him as he conducts a normal work day. He said in his educated Maine accent, “Well, if you had arrived two hours earlier, you could have photographed me chopping the fire wood. You know, I do that every day first thing. But since you’re here now, I was planning on going down to shovel off the Mary Elizabeth. She’s in dry dock at the boatyard.” So I said, “Great. Let’s go.” And that’s how I came to photograph a genius shoveling snow.
When I asked Ted, “What’s it like being a genius?” He replied, “Mistakes happen!” Ted was one of the most interesting and entertaining of my subjects so far this year. My favorite photo is of him driving us back to the office.