BUCKSPORT, Maine — The fifth annual Bucksport Arts Festival is officially underway -- and local artists and artisans from around the state are eager to show off their work.
Among them on Friday was a young man who credits photography with giving his life meaning and helping him overcome daily challenges.
Charles W. Hunt has autism, but he found a new form of self-expression when his mom, Cynthia Wailus, gave him a disposable camera one day.
"I was just blown away when he came home with these pictures," Cynthia told NEWS CENTER Maine, referring to a small sample of the hundreds of photographs Charles has taken.
Since then, Charles has ditched the beginner gear for professional equipment. He says he shoots with the Nikon Coolpix and Canon Powershot primarily.
Cynthia says taking pictures helps Charles cope with the challenges autism can present.
"He struggles with anxiety, which is part of autism -- but when he takes the camera, it's like he's so calm," Cynthia explained. "He is at a perfect place for him."
Charles says photography gives him a sense of meaning.
"Before, I didn't feel like I was going anywhere," Charles said. "It makes me feel like I've got something going on in my life."
Eventually, Charles' mom hopes to make calendars and photo albums with her son's pictures -- but for now, Charles is focused on giving other people with autism a voice through the lens of his camera.
The Bucksport Arts Festival is also happening tomorrow, Saturday, August 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the town's waterfront.