Listening to the Heartbeat of the Coast: Partners

Not much, really, to this. Couple of gloves on a wharf, that’s all.

Yet it’s more.

I see it as a representation, or portrait, of partners, of people working together. In this case, the guys who work together running a fishing wharf, but, in my mind it just as easily represents the quality and practice of partnership wherever and however that is manifested.

Two hands being better than one and, by extension, four hands being better than two…ideally.

On a very personal level, I have always tended to think of this as a portrait of my friend, Philip Conkling, and me. He was with me when I made this photograph, and we were surely together when we founded the Island Institute and for three decades partnered to make that organization into what it is today. He’s been a truly superb partner, finest kind.

I love this photograph because it’s so darn simple. Yet if I really look at it intently, then close my eyes, my imagination can smell and hear the wharf, but more, it can, with a bit of patience, also hear the voices and see the movements of these men in their work together. And that makes me think of what a wonderful thing true partnership can be.

At this point in my life, having retired from my executive role at the Institute, and now fully embarked upon a creative journey of my own making, partnerships are more important than ever.

It all makes me think of the qualities that help Maine’s coastal working communities endure, “independence and interdependence.”


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