Vinalhaven Island Home, Maine
Photograph by Abby Campbell
In October 2008, a group of Maine high schoolers had the unique opportunity to document their communities of Vinalhaven and North Haven Islands under the direction of National Geographic contributing photographers Amy Toensing and Matt Moyer. For three days, the students explored their natural environment, photographing, editing, and designing a portrait of their experiences. This National Geographic Photo Camp was held in partnership with the Island Institute, an organization that supports the islands' communities and helps preserve the region's biodiversity.
Vinalhaven Island, pictured here, is known for its large lobstering fleet. Says student photographer Abby Campbell: "Being from a rural area and stepping onto grass every day when I leave my porch, I have a special opportunity tons of kids don’t have."
Maine Fish Haul
Photograph by Racheal Brown
Men unload buckets of fish and other sea life at a Maine waterfront. Students at the Maine Islands Photo Camp photographed Vinalhaven and North Haven Islands, 12 miles (19 kilometers) off the coast of Maine.
Photograph by Jacob Watt
Foy Brown, Sr., measures a lobster after hauling a trap out of the frigid waters in the channel between Vinalhaven and North Haven Islands, Maine.
Photograph by Francis Warren
For folks "from away," lobsters are sold at premium. But with the selling price dropping to $2.50 a pound and the soaring costs of diesel fuel to run the boats, the lobstering community in the islands is finding it hard to break even.
"I think that it is easier to express my ideas about everything, nature and otherwise, with photography."
—Photo Camp participant Francis Warren, Vinalhaven Island
Lobsters in a Crate
Photograph by Desirae Gray
Crates of today's catch will be sold to a local buyer and then transported to the mainland for distribution.
"Using the camera to show other people what we saw [during Photo Camp] was valuable to me."
—Photo Camp participant Desirae Gray, Vinalhaven Island
Photograph by Brittany Cooper
Lobsters have just been hauled in in Maine, site of a 2008 National Geographic Photo Camp.
"We are definitely going to regret our ignorance towards our impact on nature very soon, unless more people start appreciating how much it gives us."
—Photo Camp participant Brittany Cooper, North Haven Island
Boat With Blue Hull
Photograph by Karen Krager
"Living in the community we live in today, everything is so quiet and peaceful. As we walk down paths in the woods or even the road, everything is still, except for the swaying of the trees and the rare drive-by [car], and silent minus the birds chirping and the crash of waves against the rocks. Thinking about the culture and priorities of young people, there is less focus on nature and the environment, until you step foot in a completely isolated, quiet environment and you start to realize the true beauty of nature."
—Photo Camp participant Jesi Frankowski, North Haven
Man and Dog, Vinalhaven Island Ferry
Photograph by Emilia Doak
A man and his dog wait at the ferry terminal on Vinalhaven Island. The ferry runs twice a day, most months, to Rockland, Maine.
Boat Shop, Vinalhaven Island
Photograph by Kate Hamilton
A boat waits to be repaired in a shop on Vinalhaven Island's working waterfront.
"My environment has shaped who I am. I’ve grown up in a place full of industrious people who make their living from the land. ... My father is a commercial fisherman and my mother has played a large role advocating for the use of wind power on my home island. I can’t imagine living in a place without greenery or without fresh air. I need my environment to be clean and lovely if I’m going to be any use to anyone at all."
—Photo Camp participant Kate Hamilton, Vinalhaven Island
Metal Object in a Field
Photograph by Ashley Hodder
"Nature is disappearing everyday, even in a state so full of it like Maine. Growing up in the same place your entire life, whether urban or rural, can cause so much familiarity that the connection is lost and no mind is paid to the environment that surrounds us. Today most young people don’t grow up working on family land as they used to. ... It is a connection we need to get back."
—Photo Camp participant Ashley Hodder, North Haven Island