Photographs are something like science fiction or maybe even magic.
They’re rectangular holes in the fabric of time and space. Pictures instantly transport viewers through phone screens, or flimsy newsprint, to some other place or time. They take you there by conveying complex narratives and complicated emotions without saying anything.
Looking back through 12 months of Bangor Daily News photojournalism is a great way to revisit the past year and take a trip without ever leaving the confines of your home.
BDN photojournalists chose four of their favorite shots of 2022 and described what makes the pictures special.
Troy R. Bennett
This photo was made during the first snowstorm of the year. If you spend any time walking around Portland, where I live, you’ll probably come across Chris Glanville, a Commercial Street fixture. Glanville spends most days planted outside LeRoux Kitchen, reading and selling used books on the 161 block.
I was a little surprised to see him out there on that snowy day, but I shouldn’t have been. Glanville has no permanent housing. At the time, the library and the city’s day shelters were closed due to the pandemic. He had nowhere else to go.
This picture is indicative of the city’s ongoing homelessness conundrum. There’s plenty of visible suffering but no ready solutions. In the photo, you can see pastry bags and several cups of coffee beside Glanville. Passersby often bring him hot drinks and snacks to ease his immediate discomfort. Those are only temporary fixes.
I’ve known former Morse High School teacher and theater director Kevin O’Leary for about 20 years. I began covering his yearly, student-written productions when I worked for The Times Record newspaper in Brunswick. An amazing, energetic educator, O’Leary always approached his mentorship of student writers like a holy calling.
In June, after 21 seasons of teaching at Morse, he retired and I was fortunate enough to be there for O’Leary’s final dress rehearsal in March. He wept openly, holding nothing back, as his students encircled him in a supportive ring. It was a powerful moment, but my photo opportunity was partially thwarted by face masks, the bane of my profession the past few years.
But I also snagged this photo of his letterman’s jacket. Over the years, he’d been embroidering the names of each of his student playwrights, along with the year and the name of their piece, on its quilted liner. It’s an intimate symbol of O’Leary’s personal dedication to his students. He could have put their names on the outside, for all to see. But instead, he kept them closer to himself and to his heart.
This is third-generation Arundel dairy farmer Fred Stone. I spent an afternoon watching him feed and milk his few remaining cows in April. After discovering high levels of PFAS forever chemicals on his land a few years back, Stone had to slaughter most of his herd because he could no longer sell their milk.
These days, he lives with the help of public assistance and struggles to pay his debts. Stone still keeps a few cows because he loves them, calling each one by its own name.
I made pictures of Fred doing his chores that day. When he was done, being a friendly sort, he plunked down on his now disused milk tank and began to talk. There, Stone told me of his plight, his body slumping a little more with each bad-news detail.
Eventually he paused, sighed and looked down at the floor. That’s when I took this frame. It seemed to capture Fred’s whole frustrating plight in one, deflated moment.
The still ongoing coronavirus pandemic is the biggest story I have ever covered and likely the hardest to photograph. Hospitals, testing facilities and people’s homes have all been off limits through the emergency. The worst days seem to be over now, but the illness keeps on simmering in the background.
In June, I visited a vaccination clinic in Sanford where children under 5 were starting to get shots. I’ve made a lot of pictures of kids getting vaccinated over the years. I usually either shoot the youngster’s scrunched-up, anticipatory face or the healthcare provider (from the other direction) moving in with a needle at the ready.
That day, I got both of those kinds of pictures but I also saw this, something I had not photographed before. The father and child were both in silhouette, waiting their turn. Both masks were light colored and visible. The father’s hand seems to be in a reassuring position and the sign over their head is not ambiguous, getting right to a big truth worth remembering.
Linda Coan O’Kresik
This photo from Bangor’s Veterans Day Parade is my favorite of the year. I have a genuine admiration for veterans, especially the older ones, so to be in the right place to capture such a heartfelt moment of gratitude from a parade-goer was special. The people standing around, watching with smiles and signs, added to the moment. To me, it shows the respect and gratitude Mainers have for those who have served.
I love this scenic photo from Masardis. The stunning color, reflections and fog lifting off of the water is what I stopped to capture. I was excited when the bird took flight from the tall grass, bringing it to life. It was the cherry on top.
I shot this photo to accompany a wonderful story about family and friends who rallied to take care of Kami Rivera’s Frankfort farm so she could focus on battling breast cancer. I wanted to show that commitment, love, and support for Rivera. The sweet moment between Molly Straus and Nala the dog, along with the pensive look on Rivera’s mother’s face, illustrated all of that, for me.
This photo was made for a story about the impact of climate change on Maine blueberries. It’s a simple photo, but I like its quiet feel and the way the light shines on the field.
Photographing the happy and the sad scenes is part of the job. This was one of those harder scenes to photograph. I took this image at a memorial service for Penobscot County Deputy Sheriff Bobbie Pelletier in February. Pelletier was a huge part of the Hermon community, serving as one of their dedicated deputies policing the area. Pelletier died after his snowmobile crashed. Here, Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton knelt to present a folded flag to Jess Pelletier, the deputy’s widow.
The story behind this photo will stick with me for a while. I shot this one at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, in March. I was part of the team providing visuals of our high school basketball championship coverage and had attended many games at this point. I knew I wanted to go out with a bang and capture a raw, joyous celebration. So after it was clear the Yarmouth boys’ basketball team was going to win the Class B championship, I headed off the court to the student section.
There was a line of tables separating the fans from the players and I ducked under one of those tables and waited. Sure enough, the boys rushed over to celebrate with their fans and I got caught in the middle of a sea of people. Although I came out a little bruised I came away with this image that I still love looking at.
This isn’t the greatest photograph I’ve ever taken, but it is the art that kicked off a months-long investigation into the first man in Maine that was accused of defrauding a federal pandemic aid program. I remember putting my camera against the glass of the door to see through black material meant to keep prying eyes out of the former location of Sears, a department store chain, at the Bangor Mall.
I had been at the mall a few days earlier and noticed a little pink sign that indicated that a portion of the mall was condemned. So, I dug deeper and found that the old Sears was the new base of operations for a man named Nathan Reardon. From there I worked with the BDN’s Judy Harrison to unravel Reardon’s web of fraud and deceit that stretched across Maine.
I also spent a significant amount of 2022 following the University of Maine System and its chancellor, Dannel Malloy. This photo came together amid a challenging reporting sprint to examine the search for the next president of the University of Maine at Augusta. That search failed and Malloy largely shouldered the blame. The consequences were growing distrust and unrest, with students and professors alike calling for Malloy’s ouster as chancellor.
Here, Malloy enjoyed a light-hearted moment during the height of the challenges he and the system faced in the summer of 2022.