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The photographer who chronicled Maine by driving 100,000 miles on its highways and byways

“I was always taking wrong turns…looking for things I didn’t know were there”

PORTLAND, Maine — In 2014 S.B. Walker, who’s known as Sam, began taking pictures for what would become a photography project called Nor’easter, an epic survey of Maine and its people. About all, he needed at the outset was a camera and a car.

The project began, Walker says, with “just going out and driving around and talking to people, which is really half the fun of doing a project like this. You get to meet all these different people and everybody’s got a different perspective.”

Photography is about images, not numbers, but the numbers in this case are remarkable. While working on this project Walker figures he has traveled at least 100,000 miles across Maine, always with a Delorme Gazetteer by his side with the roads he’s driven traced on the well-thumbed pages with a magic marker. Where did he go? Everywhere. Anywhere. Somewhere. It didn’t really matter. “I was always taking wrong turns…looking for things I didn’t know were there.”

Along the way, Walker met countless people from all walks of life and took tens of thousands of pictures. Although photos from Nor’easter are on display at the Maine Center for Contemporary Art in Rockland through September 12, he’s not done with the project and expects to keep working on it for a few more years, a prospect he finds pleasing. “I knew when I started out it was kind of an impossible task,” he says. “But that’s always kind of a fun thing to tackle in a weird way.”

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