photo by tarah d’elia

“Maine is excessively, disgustingly beautiful.”
— Tarah D’Elia
(That’s me. I said that.)

When people ask where in Maine we spend time and then I tell them Lubec I always get the same response.
Me: “You know WAY up there. The Easternmost town in the United States.”
Blank stare
Me: “On the border of New Brunswick. Canada.”
“OH, Canada….right, right.”
Me: “Right. Canada.”

Geography is hard.

It’s roughly a 9 1/2  hour drive from our home in New York. The first time we went we drove all night and saw the sunrise over West Quoddy lighthouse. Totally worth it. We camped, hiked, played, and discussed in depth how it was possible that we’ve lived thirty something years and this was the first time we had set foot in Lubec. We’ve been back every summer since and I have never been disappointed. Well, UNTIL this summer. It all started around 2 in the morning. I was jonesing for a bear encounter hardcore and when I heard the BANG! BANG! BANG! on the deck outside I was sure I was about to get my fix. I grabbed my phone so I could facebook, text, tweet and instagram all the selfies of me and the bear I was about to take. Then army crawled across the living room floor toward the sliding doors. I didn’t want to startle the bear. I got into position and drew back the shades before turning on the light. When I did I saw nothing. NOTHING? WTF MAINE! Then I noticed near the grill a small but alarmingly dexterous paw creep out from under the lid. Next a long ringed tail dropped into view. Wow- the bears in Maine look just like raccoons! He was kind of a jerk though and wouldn’t pose for a photo.

To soothe my disappointment we went over to the beach the next morning. The sun was shining and we set off to explore low tide. You can find a lot at low tide. Shells. Sea glass. Crabs. People who recognize you from the internet. No seriously it’s a thing. That’s how I met Kelli. Nothing is better for a raccoon rebuffed ego than being recognized for your photos. #EGOBOOST #OMGTHISLADYSAWMYPHOTOS #ONEOTHERPERSONBESIDEMYSISTERSAWMYPHOTOS

Her children were adorable and keeping mine entertained AND she takes photos. I was going to ask her to marry me but her husband showed up and he has a really great beard. Also mine was there and it seemed weird. But it was great to sit and talk. To daydream about living there and starting our own upper echelon of Lubec society that would consist of us wearing big hats. (SOMEDAY KELLI!) Now we have combined forces to venture on a new artistic endeavor.

I have never collaborated on anything like this before. I’ve been told I don’t play well with others. (This should be in bold neon letters that flash and emit a siren, but the INTERNET was like “No. you can’t do that.” so use your imagination) For me the act of photography is equally important as the outcome. It adds depth and focus to my life. As we start this project I am looking forward to seeing all the sights along they way. I hope you enjoy viewing the photos as much as I enjoy taking them. — Tarah


A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses
that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.

— Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

I’ve been visiting Lubec with my in-laws since 2009. I believe the root cause of our driving to the Easternmost town in the contiguous United States was my father-in-law’s interest in purchasing a lighthouse there. Yes, he wanted to live in a lighthouse. My mother-in-law “persuaded” him not to buy said property, but it seemed like a good place to vacation so we kept going back.

Despite visiting every summer for five years, I had never made a friend in Lubec (other than the harbor seals that hang out in the channel), that is until I met Tarah D’Elia this past summer. The story of our meeting is kind of strange, and telling it makes me feel a little bit like a weirdo/stalker, but here goes nothing. I met Tarah on Mowry Beach in downtown Lubec. We both said hi to each other in passing, and then she disappeared into the fog to take pictures of her daughter (one of which you can see in the collage below). As I stood there watching my own kids, I kept having a nagging feeling that I’d seen this woman before, which was strange since I was seven hours away from home. It turned out that, yes, I had seen her before — on Instagram! I recognized her from some of the photos in the #lubec feed, which I had been looking at earlier in the day. When she came back to my area of the beach I told her that I recognized her, and thankfully she did not run away screaming.

We chatted for the next hour or so, about photography, and kids, and the beauty of Maine’s Bold Coast. Then we exchanged Facebook info and returned to our respective corners of the world. We’ve kept in touch ever since, and recently decided to do this project together. I’m very excited about it because this is my first ever collaboration, and I think it will help me to be more intentional in my work. Plus, Tarah is awesome and I am really looking forward to working in tandem with her. I think our personalities and photography styles really complement each other, and I can already tell that Tarah is going to pull me, at least a little bit, out of my comfort zone. For example, we were discussing the format for the posts and Tarah was talking about the style of her writing. All I could think was, “Wait, we have to write things? Like, more than a couple of sentences?” I think we can learn a lot from this project, and each other. — Kelli