Few harbingers of spring hold as much promise for us as our annual job fair and the knowledge that we'll soon be joined by a fresh new crop of seasonal staff. Every year we wonder how we get so lucky. These are seriously talented people who come from far and wide to spend their summers with us. They manage our print operations and film gear, edit the weekly slideshows and photograph behind the scenes, assist our instructors in the labs and in the field, shepherd our Young Artists as YO Mamas and YO Daddies, and make sure the bedrooms are clean and the lobsters are perfectly steamed. We already know that the new influx of talent is going to light this place up. It always does. But those who have never worked here before may not know just how much one summer at Maine Media has a way of sticking with you. 

We asked a few of our 2015 summer staffers to reflect on their time here last year...
 
David Martinez came all the way from Puerto Rico to serve as our post production manager last summer, but he wasn't new to Maine Media. His father, a photographer, studied here and encouraged him to do the same. Although an avid photographer himself, David sought out MMW+C when he decided to transition to a career in filmmaking. In 2012 he enrolled in our Six-Week Filmmaking Workstudy and returned in 2014 for our 12-Week Cinematography Intensive. Last summer he joined our staff as a way of giving back, and to help other students new to the filmmaking path.
 
As a student I always enjoyed the Fridaynight shows and the opportunity to present my work to an audience. Knowing that other people were going to see it pushed meto do a better job. The ability to create and produce work and share it with other people is one of the most enjoyable parts of Maine Media's learning process. Because I was a student first, I was better at my job as post production manager. I had an understanding of what others wanted out of the experience. In the position of helping students put up their work in the Friday night screening, I knew how important it was for their work to be presented well. When you're surrounded by 100 to 200 people in the soundstage and everyone is looking at what you produced, it's a great sensation!
 
Like David, last summer's film technical manager had also spent time here as a student. John Belanger took our Young Filmmakers workshop when he was just 16, and later studied photography with MMW+C Instructor Jay Gould in Baltimore. Jay encouraged him to apply for a summer position here so that he could add hands-on experience to the theory-based curriculum of the film program he was enrolled in at Johns Hopkins. John was hired as a film teaching assistant in 2014, and returned last summer to take on even more responsibility.
 
My film program in college was all theory based, and very academic. Maine Media is the total opposite. I learned everything about production, lighting, camerawork, and the mechanics of making a movie. I also got to sit in on some of the writing and directing classes which was extremely helpful. Now I have a background in theory as well as the process of filmmaking. I think having both has made me a stronger creative.
 
In his free time last summer, John produced a music video that won the grand prize for film in the 2015 B&H Creative Storytelling Contest. The prize included a new Sony a7S camera from B&H, which he is currently using to film a documentary aboard a 138ft wooden sailboat. Julia Bennett, his girlfriend and fellow 2015 MMW+C staffer, tells us the boat is currently in Cuba, and John is keeping busy "filming, spearing fish, and being a pirate." 
 
John and Julia met here in Maine last summer (certainly not the first or the last romance MMW+C will take credit for). Julia was hired as our 2015 photography program assistant, but also served as a teaching assistant in several workshops, including those taught by Connie ImbodenJacob and Alissa Hessler, and Elizabeth Opalenik. During her time here, she also connected with photographers Aline Smithson and Susan Burnstine. Julia now works for Aline's popular LENSCRATCH blog (and was recently featured there) as well as for the Palm Springs Photo Festival thanks to connections made through Susan.
 
Maine Media gave me the opportunity to work closely with important people and network in an open and relaxed environment. I met Susan Burnstine because she invited me to go bowling with her class. Not exactly a formal job interview! Being around all those creative students, staff, and instructors led me to think about photography in a much better way. I learned to be more critical and take my time when I'm making my work. It was a really nice creative bubble where everyone worked in close proximity, ate meals together, and shared time and ideas. You don't really get that anywhere else. It's very special.
 
We're excited to introduce you to this year's batch of fresh new faces! And if YOU are planning on applying for one of more than 50 seasonal jobs and internships this year, get ready to work harder than you knew you could and make friends and connections that will last a lifetime. 
 
Our annual job fair takes place on April 1st and 2nd. Attending is a great way to meet all of our staff, tour the campus, and share your work. If you can't make it, don't worry. We can also arrange interviews by Skype. 
 
CHECK OUT THE COMPLETE LIST OF 2016 JOB & INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

 

Each year we strive to provide scholarship support to more students who want to attend our programs but can't afford to.  Last year we reached an important milestone. For the first time, we were able to offer financial support to every qualified scholarship applicant. Each of the 33 teens and adults who received scholarships added to the creative diversity on our campus, but perhaps none more than four quiet teenagers from the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

MMW+C Instructor Emily Schiffer first began working with Lakota teens in 2005 when she founded a photography program built on donated cameras and equipment. The dedicated darkroom housed in the local YMCA became a favorite gathering place for teens seeking a creative outlet in a community where artistic opportunities are rare. Emily also understood that providing experiences off the reservation, where the teens could meet working creative professionals, would help them visualize a future in the arts as well as a way to share their unique stories with a wider audience. 

Three generous donors provided the funding that brought high school students Miah Phillips, Ashley White Wolf, Jessie Carlson, and Summer Dupree to Maine to attend Emily's Young Creative Darkroom workshop. It was the first time some of them had traveled beyond the borders of South Dakota.
 
Suddenly immersed in the creative atmosphere here, the teens quickly recognized cultural differences, particularly in communication styles. Many Native Americans avoid direct eye contact, and are more reserved in their manner of self-expression. "The thing that surprised me the most was how different the people were," said Ashley White Wolf. "At first it was difficult for me to adjust to the differences in cultures, especially the way people approach and talk to each other. Where I am from, it is disrespectful to look someone in the eyes while talking to them. Here it is considered a sign of respect."
 
Miah, Ashley, Jessie, and Summer lost no time in exploring their surroundings, creating ghostly images in Fort Knox, subdued landscapes along the foggy coastline, and portraits of a young island resident who introduced them to her own isolated community on Monhegan. Back in the darkroom, they created paper negatives and multiple exposures, stained prints with tea and bleach, and painted with liquid light. 
 
Although they worked closely together throughout the week, the four soon began to draw inspiration from the buzzing artistic hive around them. They saw creative teens and adults everywhere they looked, shooting photographs and film, directing actors, setting lights, experimenting with cameras and software, and conversing about art from sunrise to sunset. "I come from a place that doesn't have a strong artistic community, and I've never encountered so many dedicated and knowledgeable artists," Summer told us. "I learned so much that I didn't know before."
 
Beyond being culturally reserved, Miah Phillips was also extremely shy, and had always found it difficult to make friends. When two of the project's donors visited our darkroom to learn more about the students' work, Miah was unable to communicate and visibly uncomfortable. But the more time she spent with other creative peers, the more confident she became. "I was scared at first. I thought I wouldn't make friends and I was really shy about meeting people. But then I realized that everyone was being nice to me, so I decided to do the same," Miah told us. "Everyone told me my pictures were great, and I really liked being appreciated. This was the first place I've been where all my friends were artists. It's like being part of a big family. Everyone around me inspired me to be more creative, to be myself."
 
As part of the celebration of student work that happens every Friday, the teens prepared a slideshow of their best images to present to all the students and staff on campus. Ashley, who had initially found the culture of direct and emotive communication so challenging, collaborated with the instructor of our Audio Storytelling workshop to record the slideshow's soundtrack, a captivating Lakota song that she sang a cappella. Ashley later told us how her initial discomfort had been transformed. "The experience made my social skills better and boosted my self-confidence. Nobody judges anyone here. You can just be you."
 
Watch the complete slideshow of the Cheyenne River students' work
 
The Cheyenne River students maintain contact through social media with the new friends they made in Maine. Miah has kept in touch with us, too. After returning home,she wrote to tell us that she transferred to a new school, where she has joined sports teams and clubs, made many new friends, and was recently elected class president. She 

has also begun saving money so that she can return to Maine this summer. "There are a lot of decisions to be made about my future. I want to do photography, filmmaking, maybe 
acting," wrote Miah. "Being in Maine was like a practice for me, because I wanted to see how it would be meeting new people and being away from home. I didn't get homesick. I loved all the friends I made there and I really didn't want to leave. It inspired me on so many levels, in so many ways."
 
Last year, MMW+C distributed more than $55,000 in scholarship support to teens and adults looking to advance their skills in photography, filmmaking, book arts, and writing. We have funds available to support students attending 2016 workshops as well as long-term and college programs. CLICK HERE to see the complete list of available scholarships and to apply. Some scholarships have an April 22 application deadline. We encourage all who qualify to apply.
 
If you had a transformative experience here at MMW+C, we hope you'll consider paying it forward. Help us bring more students like these to Maine Media. 
 

This year we had the honor of welcoming Richard Reitz-Smith and Valerie Carrigan as our first ever Book Artists in Residence. During their six-week residencies, both artists were given the opportunity to devote uninterrupted creative time to their hand-made book projects in our newly renovated studio. Watching their ideas come to life was a wonderful gift to our students and staff. Photographers, filmmakers, and writers all took advantage of their lectures and open studio policy, and the resulting cross-pollination sparked countless discussions of ideas and craft. 

Richard's book, The Haiku Alphabet Zoo, has been a passion project more than 20 years in the making, but the original seed of the idea was planted even earlier. "In first grade, I received a gigantic wall-sized abecedarium poster as part of my Scholastic Reader book order. Each letter had an illustrated scene of animals and objects." Richard kept the poster, and years later began sketching his own version of an illustrated alphabet. But without unfettered access to printing presses and bindery tools, and without a stretch of undistracted time, the project remained locked in his sketchbook for more than 20 years. 
 
This fall, when Richard was awarded one of the residencies made possible by three generous donors, The Haiku Alphabet Zoo finally moved from the sketchbook to the printing press. The process proved more challenging than he expected. "I never thought of myself as a writer, but as an illustrator," Richard explained. "But on this project the text came easily and the illustrations were laborious. I think I was nervous that the illustrations would have to be especially strong to carry the book, and 26 illustrations seemed like a very large number!" Unlike other alphabet books, which prominently feature each letter, Richard created a hide-and-seek game within the book's pages. Playful haikus give clues to the identity of the letter hidden within each illustration. "I just want it to be a special moment of fun and laughter and joy," said Richard. "If that leads to an appreciation for poetry and reading, as well as for illustration and bookmaking, then all the better."
 
Although created for an adult audience, Valerie Carrigan's book, The Walk, also drew early inspiration from children. Inspired by her daughter's sense of wonder during their morning walks to school, Valerie drew parallels to themes explored in her own art and writing. "Along our walks, we stopped to observe many things, but it was the milkweed that most captured our attention," explained Valerie. "We watched the plant change color and texture with each new day as we waited patiently for the pods to open. It wasn't just a thing of beauty. It spoke to the cycles of nature." 
 
Without knowing it at the time, these shared experiences evolved into an elaborate plan for an artist book. "My work now explores the intersection of the natural world and the human spirit," said Valerie. "There are lessons to be learned from paying attention to our immediate surroundings and applying those experiences to our inner selves." Valerie created a limited edition of 35 folios and 25 books that combine monotype drawings of the milkweed pods with her own poetry as well as excerpts from the journal of Swiss philosopher Henri-Frédéric Amiel that speak to the patient enjoyment of the mysterious and the unexpected. 
 
The real gift of an artist in residence award is the time and resources it gives artists to complete their projects. "The residency at MMW+C was life changing for me," said Valerie. "Six weeks of uninterrupted time, coupled with a beautifully renovated studio, meant that I could focus on my work without the distractions of daily life. I became fully engaged in my art practice, pursuing a complex project that would have otherwise taken me over a year to complete." Although their residencies are now complete, we're looking forward to seeing these artists back in our book arts studio very soon. Both Richard and Valerie are scheduled to teach workshops here in 2016. 
 
Maine Media appreciates the generous donations that made these residencies possible. You can help provide opportunities like this for other book artists by MAKING A DONATION TODAY.
 
The application deadline for our 2016 Book Artist in Residence is May 6, 2016. To learn more, CLICK HERE. We also offer a wide range of book arts workshops. VIEW OUR WINTER/SPRING BOOK ARTS COURSES. Summer workshops will be live on our website in mid January. Be sure to check back to see all the new courses offered! 
 

Next week, our MFA students will return to Rockport for the second of two annual retreats. It's always thrilling for us to see how their projects evolve after months of synthesizing feedback from mentors, instructors, and peers. Equally exciting is the addition of this term's guest faculty members, fine art photographer Connie Imboden and documentary cinematographer Bestor Cram. Both bring rich and divergent skill sets to share with this cohort of artists, who represent a similarly diverse range of talents and interests. Bringing these photographers, filmmakers, and multimedia artists together for a week of intense learning is a catalyst for fresh creative insight, and it's something our students often credit for pushing their work to the next level.

Led by our core MFA faculty members who work with candidates throughout the year, our retreats always feature a new pair of guest faculty members to provide fresh professional perspective on both photography and filmmaking. These interdisciplinary conversations are often some of the most powerful elements of the retreat. Connie, for example, explained how much she appreciates a filmmaker's perspective of photography. "I love hearing from a filmmaker's point of view about composition in a still image because they think about it differently than still photographers," Connie explained. "Their concerns with time, movement, and what happens next are reflected in their attention to composition."
 
Bestor added that when it comes to filmmaking, bringing in different perspectives is also just a sign of the

 times, since technology has opened filmmaking to a wide variety of new participants. "Filmmakers today are musicians, rock climbers, graphic artists, skate boarders, painters, linguists, photographers, soldiers, writers, divers, cooks, teachers - the list is endless," he said. "What has happened is a uniting of many interests into the common goal of visual storytelling."
 
Connie and Bestor are representative of the caliber of talent that lead our MFA retreats, a key component to this three-year, low-residency program. Like them, our core faculty members and mentorsare accomplished professionals and internationally recognized luminaries active in their artistic practices. With students working independently and guided from afar for much of the year, face time with these master artists takes on a heightened significance and results in creatively powerful days for the students.
 

MFA candidate Anna LaBenz is a photographer who had specialized in self-portraits and landscapes before seeking out our program. Since then, she has branched out to sound scape, prints-on-fabric installations, and unconventional book forms. "For years I fought my instinctual impulses because they did not fit with the work I saw beingmade by my peers," Anna said. "After starting the program my mentor advised me to go out and respond to the world around me, to let my camera show the way. My work has evolved from prints on a wall to beautiful installations that feel like compartments of memory." Anna said working with high-caliber artists from different disciplines has not only pushed her to try new things, but has also given her work more spark and breadth. "Having artists from different genres working together creates an inspirational, exciting, and creative environment," Anna said. "It breaks down the barriers that different genres can put up around themselves, allowing for greater exploration."
 
Connie also noted that just as photographers can benefit from a filmmaker's critique, the reverse is also true. "For me, the challenge of critiquing a film can be exciting in seeing how my own visual sensitivities translate to a different medium, and how we each have the opportunity to transcend the limitations of our different disciplines to broaden our outlooks," she explained.
 
That is the spirit behind the retreat, Bestor says, to broaden horizons and push artists into new frontiers that are now more open for exploration than ever before. "Our world is no longer linear but involves often interactive non-linear storytelling, bringing our audience into our storytelling space to participate, not just consume," he said. "We never stop cooking with new recipes. We are hungry for more than food. And we are starved for new ways to prepare it."
 
 
All images © Mark Edward Dawson

How do you launch into the film industry in less than one year? Start with a focused program 
that covers everything you need to know and nothing more.  Add the same cutting-edge equipment found in the major studios, and bring award-winning filmmakers to teach and mentor. The bonus of this brand new Certificate in Collaborative Filmmaking? You get to do it all in Midcoast Maine.
 
With major studio and independent films to his credit, writer/director Wayne Beach has been in the film industry for more than two decades. In addition to writing screenplays for industry giants like Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, and Sony, he has developed projects for the makers of Pirates of the Caribbean, Law & Order, The Fugitive, Seven, Ocean's Eleven, Platoon, The Matrix, and The Perfect Storm. And since he's also an instructor whose students have gone on to write, produce, and direct hit films and TV shows, it's hard to imagine someone better suited to teach part of a brand new curriculum designed to provide an accelerated route into the business. 
 
MMW+C Film Program Director Tawny Bradley sought input from seasoned professionals, including Wayne, to craft the Certificate in Collaborative Filmmaking, our newest certificate program that provides a fast track to building the skills needed in today's film industry. "Two decades into my career, I can say that this is the foundation I would have loved to have had when I started out on this journey," said Wayne. Launching this month, CCF is accepting applications now for the 30-week program that begins in late March. 
 
For recent college graduates or career-changers with limited time to invest, CCF is a more focused alternative to a traditional four-year college experience. It's also a great fit for independent filmmakers looking to broaden their skill set. "The film industry is incredibly competitive," says Wayne. "This program gives students an intense and fast-paced advantage. The only other way to learn like this is to spend years on the job."
 
Led by Tawny Bradley, who, prior to coming to MMW+C, worked for the UK government-funded agency responsible for designing the qualifications necessary for students to be deemed ready for work in creative media, the nine-month program immerses students in the creative and technical dynamics of filmmaking, and culminates in a finished collaborative film project. 
 
The first 10 weeks quickly engage students in making films and building their skills in visual storytelling. The term provides solid grounding in screenwriting, directing, pre-production, cinematography, sound design, editing, and post-production. In addition to exploring topics as practical as on-set vernacular, how to communicate with crew and talent, and set etiquette, students also learn how to market themselves as freelancers, shape and pitch a project, and make their skills stand out in a crowd. 
 
The second term takes place during the summer workshop period, when MMW is a hive of creative energy and crawling with talented instructors. Students choose ten workshops from a range of options, allowing them to specialize and deepen their understanding of filmmaking's key dynamics under the guidance of masters. "Our workshops are taught by the highest caliber of film professionals," says Tawny. "A person could spend a decade on Hollywood sets and not have the level of access to talent that we have here in Maine." With courses taught by cinematographers like Russell Carpenter ASC (Titanic, Charlie's Angels, Ant-Man) and Steven Fierberg ASC (Entourage, The Affair, Love & Other Drugs), sound mixers like Mark Ulano (Kill Bill Vol. 1 &2, Inglorious Bastards, Django Unchained), editors like Chris Nelson ACE (Lost, Bates Motel, Mad Men), and gaffers like Mo Flam (Black Swan, I Am Legend, Meet the Parents), nine months in Maine just got more interesting. 
 
In the final term, CCF students will focus their efforts on production and post-production phases of their collaborative film projects, choosing leading roles as writer/directors, cinematographers, or editors, and working closely with mentors along the way. "Guided by accomplished professionals? In a hands-on, cutting-edge environment?  Leaving with a portfolio in one year?  Gold," said Beach.
 
APPLICATIONS FOR OUR 2016 CCF TERM ARE BEING ACCEPTED NOW. 

It's been a rewarding time to be in touch with last year's graduates of our Professional Certificate in Visual Storytelling program. Between following along with the drama of the round-the-world Volvo sailing race to news of Emmy awards, we couldn't be prouder of the way our alumni are putting their skills to work.

Fiona Chong came to us from Singapore at the start of the 2013-2014 PC term. Originally intending to focus her studies on historic photographic processes, Fiona found herself particularly drawn to a video project guided by Instructor Chris Lehmann. As part of her course work, Fiona worked with Chris to produce a short video about the development of a "Wizard of Oz" museum here in Midcoast Maine. Their 5-minute interstitial is an exploration of some of the 100,000 Oz-related items that will inhabit the museum, as well as a fascinating view of the cultural and creative impact of this timeless American story. This spring, they were awarded a Boston/New England Emmy for Best Interstitial. 

Our PCVS program was developed for students like Fiona, who know that relying on a single skill set as a media professional is often not enough. Today's visual storytellers need to be comfortable working across media platforms, and convey their stories effectively to a wide range of audiences. "This is 30-weeks of fast-paced learning," said instructor Chris Lehmann. "It is a blend of employing creativity and learning new technical skills to help students bring traditional storytelling into a visual, digital realm.

Corinna Halloran was also among the 2014 PCVS cohort. Hailing from Newport, Rhode Island, Corinna sought out our program with a singular mission: to gain the interdisciplinary skills necessary to win a coveted spot as on-board reporter for a sailing vessel in the elite Volvo Ocean Race. On-board reporters are expected to shoot stills, video, and write regular blog posts, all while enduring the same grueling conditions as the rest of the boat's crew. Shortly before graduating from our program, Corinna learned that she had won a spot with Team SCA. As a member of the all-female team, Corinna spent nine months documenting the daily challenges faced by the crew, logging more than 38,000 miles at sea. Emailing us from an early shake-down trip, Corinna said "I feel so prepared having done the PC program. Everything I learned there prepared me 110%."  

Students participating in the Professional Certificate program also get steeped in MMW+C's specialty: the very rare blending of historical photography alongside the state-of-the-art techniques that help students develop their unique visual voice. Classes offer the ability to study alternative processes, fine art and documentary photography, as well as digital still and video techniques that are important in every visual storyteller's career.

The program is typically taught to relatively small, intimate groups, providing intense hands-on training tailored to each student's goals. There is no guarantee that you will win an Emmy or participate in the world's most challenging sailing contest. But you might. "At the end of the day, I think it is really a case of how much you want to make out of the program. The more effort you put in, the more you learn," Fiona said. "You reap what you sow."

APPLICATIONS FOR OUR 2015-2016 PCVS TERM ARE BEING ACCEPTED NOW. 

LEARN MORE HERE.

Our Exquisite Corpse art sale fundraiser was a smashing success, raising more than $73,000 in support of MMW+C. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the 167 artists who donated their time and talents to our efforts by creating unique collaborative pieces for the sale or by participating in the book and film projects. We also want to thank our generous sponsors, who helped make the night so magical. 

For those of you who could not attend the event, ten amazing exquisite corpses are now available for online purchase. Many of these are pieces created by the instructors you all know and love, including Craig StevensCig HarveyKeith CarterJean Miele, and Sean Kernan. See the complete list HERE, or stop by our Rockport gallery to see them in person.

Our book and film projects were also unveiled at the Exquisite Corpse event. You can see a slideshow of the book's 100 images as well as the strange and fun little film that a few brave faculty and alumni made below. Stop by our campus or gallery to buy the book, or CLICK HERE send us an email about making a purchase if you aren't nearby.

More images from the event can be found on our facebook page!

Check out this slideshow of images from our Exquisite Corpse book. 100 of you participated in the making of it.

Here is our zany Exquisite Corpse film, made 15 seconds at a time!

We are proud to announce the first recipients of our Book Artist in Residence awards. These are the first artists in residence at Maine Media’s new Book Arts Studio, which opened in 2014.

The winners are Valerie Ann Carrigan, a print and artist-books maker in North Adams, Mass., and Richard Reitz Smith, an award-winning artist and designer living in Camden, Maine. Thanks to Maine Media’s generous donors, they will receive a stipend and materials support for their six-week residencies that will take place this fall.

“We are so delighted that these two talented artists will be our first artists-in-residence,” said Elizabeth Greenberg, Maine Media’s vice president of academic affairs. “There has been increasing interest in the Book Arts program and having this daily activity in the studio will not only add a dynamic element to the other activities happening around the campus, but also increase opportunities for our students and members of the community to engage with the Book Arts program.”

An afternoon drawing and photographing milkweed pods at Natural Bridges State Park in North Adams, Massachusetts, inspired Carrigan’s project, “The Walk.” Her monotype prints of the pods in various stages of life and decay will appear in a design based on a flag book, but with single panels that are attached to a concertina fold, extending outward when the book is stretched open.

Richard Reitz Smith has been a fan of some of the best children’s writers for decades. He plans to combine printed layers of letterpress words and images with gelatin prints and color washes to create a poetic and magical experience through a small, limited-edition book suitable for adults and children.

These two artists faced rigorous competition. But these two proposals particularly impressed the panel of well-known artists and professionals in the field of book arts that served as judges. Jurors included Cig Harvey, Liv Rockefeller, Daniel Kelm, Charles Altschul, Elizabeth Greenberg, Ashley Craig, and Meg Weston. 

The artist-in-residence program is an exciting addition to the book arts facility that was created through generous donor support. In 2014 Maine Media renovated the ground floor of the Ernst Haas Building building the new Book Arts Studio that is equipped with exceptional book arts tools, including Vandercook presses and bindery equipment. The studio is adjacent to our newly renovated Alternative Process laboratory, which allows students to be learn 19th century historic photographic techniques including tintype, collodion, gum bichromate, and calotype.  Consistent with our interest in honoring historic processes alongside the latest technological innovations, these studios capitalize on resurging interest in hands on processes. 

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