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Photographer captures austere beauty of winter on Maine's coast

'There’s a barrenness to it. The lack of foliage exposes what’s underneath,' Maine photographer Ed Kenney said of the coast during the winter.

OWLS HEAD, Maine — When Ed Kenney retired and moved full-time to Owls Head in 2009, he knew what he wanted to do with the extra time he had on his hands.

“I couldn’t wait. I really couldn’t wait,” he remembered. “I was through with the world of work. I wanted to do photography.”

He hit the road, taking pictures as he traveled to Patagonia, Namibia, Botswana, Costa Rica, Iceland, Greenland, and more. 

"But my love is here,” he said. “My love is the coast of Maine.”

Much of the best of Kenney’s work can be found in his book of photographs, “The Winter Coast of Maine.” The images reflect his attraction to the austere beauty of Maine’s most challenging season. 

“There’s a barrenness to it,” he said. “The lack of foliage exposes sort of what’s underneath.”

Rarely will one find any people in Kenney’s pictures, but there are exceptions, and one of those exceptions shows a fisherman rowing a dinghy on a morning so frigid that sea smoke is drifting up from the harbor.

“I was sitting in the car, warming my fingers up on the heating vents so that I could get the feeling back to operate the camera,” Kenney recalled of that day. 

He watched the fisherman pull up in his truck, get out, climb down the ladder to the float, row out to his boat, fire up the engine, and go to work—all on a morning when the wind chill factor was probably 20 below zero.

“If there’s a people picture that I’m most proud of in that book, that’s the picture,” he said. “Because it is quintessential Maine.”

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