“Anybody who comes to the Maine coast I think falls in love immediately.”
After almost four decades in western New York, photographer Lois Glaser and her husband thought they were done when they moved to Colorado in 2014. They weren’t expecting a trip to Maine to remind them of all the things they missed. The trees, the water, and the quaintness of “Old America” from their own small-town childhoods. Glaser was also drawn to the photographic appeal of the state’s ocean scenery and traditional fishing industry. In 2017, the couple decided to resettle in Maine.
Glaser describes herself as a “mid-brain” person, referring to the idea that the left brain focuses on logic and the right brain on arts.
“Photography suits me well because it’s technical as well as artistic,” she said.
Glaser majored in art at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, but didn’t become serious about photography until the early 2000s. She credits a 2002 trip to Africa for reigniting her interest. Her favorite destination was Zambia for its variety of animals and its less busy atmosphere. Glaser recalled being within 15 to 20 feet of lions from her open-air vehicle. Although she did get amazing shots from the experience, Glaser said she doesn’t have the patience to be a wildlife photographer.
Glaser’s photographic eye is drawn to nature’s details.
“The thing that drew me was the intricacies that so many people walk past on a trail, on the street, or wherever,” she explained. “I like photographing the details whether it's the reflections in water, the details of leaves and shadows, or the pistols in a flower.”
Glaser admits that this type of photography doesn’t sell as well, so she features more traditional Maine scenery in her exhibits. “It’s always rewarding to put a photo or two in a gallery and have people take your photo home as a memory of their vacation,” she said.
In addition to her more professional photography, Glaser still uses her smartphone for photos. She explained that smartphones lack a “big light to dark range” so bright light can make the photos look washed out, but she believes smartphones are still a good learning tool. She encourages beginners to develop their eye for photographic composition with a smartphone before committing to an expensive camera.
“Some people have that artistic eye and eye composition, and some people don’t. And that’s okay too,” said Glaser. “If you’re taking pictures of family, kids, or whatever, as long as you’ve recorded the moment it doesn’t matter if it’s a bad composition because you’ve recorded that moment that will be important to you for the rest of your life.”
Family is something that holds special importance for Glaser. Two of her siblings have passed away from Parkinson’s disease. For the last 10 years, Glaser has donated 100 percent of the proceeds she makes selling note cards of her photos to benefit Parkinson’s research. Glaser raised $2,200 last year for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk and her family team donated a little under $15,000. She also plans to begin donating a portion of all her sales towards this research.
“[It’s] become a mission of mine that goes beyond just the love of photography,” said Glaser. “It’s trying to honor my brother and sister and hopefully help some people in the future as research advances, so they don’t have to go through what my siblings, and others, have gone through.”
Glaser’s photography is currently on display at the Boothbay Region Art Foundation. Her work will be exhibited at the Lincoln Arts Festival’s Arts and Yachts show in early August.