A few days ago I wrote this for “Wilderness Week” at Bardo. Then, the other evening, while looking at a book of Porter photographs, I saw one of the same view as mine of the tidal marsh and mountains. It is a remarkable vista.
I came of age with Eliot Porter. Not literally of course. Rather, my adolescence and young adulthood were accompanied by his books and photos. He taught me how to look. Even now, his photographs influence my writing and visual work.
A few weeks ago we were in Downeast Maine, north of Bar Harbor. Every few days we drove south, down Penobscot County way. Eliot Porter spent much time in the Penobscot region, as well as out West. Out West, his photos were panoramic. Downeast, they were more intimate, capturing a brook, leaf, or pod of berries. If memory serves me, his iconic book and homage to Thoreau, In Wilderness is the Preservation of the Earth, drew heavily from his Penobscot experience.
People tend to think of wilderness as vast tracks of untouched ecosystems. Yet in our time, there are few such places. Climate change and other forms of pollution…
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