New Commercial Work: Thoughtful, Creative Imagery for Needed

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When the brilliant art director, Lake Buckley, came to me with a new and innovative concept, I knew I wanted to be on board. With the thoughtful stylist Molly O’Rourke, we worked with a stellar team to create a highly technical and deeply thoughtful set of images for Needed, a new nourishment and nutritional company, to roll out on their instagram. Square by square, we built a table for everyone. Each square symbolized and discussed a different topic regarding holistic nutrition: science and data, gender inequality, vitamins, omegas, prenatal care, etc.

See the entire project on instagram: @nourishmentisneeded

Needed: www.thisisneeded.com
Art Director- Lake Buckley: www.lakebuckley.com
Stylist- Molly O’Rourke www.oneandsupp.com

The Swedish Tradition of Midsommar in Northern Maine, Photographed for Yankee Magazine

Midsommar is a festival of lightness, flowers, warmth, and food. It’s also a celebration of the natural movement of people. People take a lot of pride in the stories of how their greatgrandfathers and great-great-grandmothers wound up living in northern Maine, but there’s also a sense of latent worry. Aroostook County is a place that’s dwindling in population, and it has been for years. For these Mainers, immigration isn’t a problem to be solved. It’s a necessity. 

“We have a saying up here,” he tells me. “If you are not Swedish by genealogy, you can be Swedish by association. Swedishness is a feeling. It’s a feeling of community and comfort and understanding and appreciation.” Really, he says, “it’s just about being welcoming.” It’s a big-hearted sentiment, as sweet as lingonberry jam… but, I’m inclined to believe it. Midsommar is a relic from the past, but perhaps it’s also a symbol of our shared future. 

Text by writer, friend, and collaborator Katy Kelleher. Photographed for Yankee Magazine

© Greta Rybus

Phid Lawless of Lunaform, Photographed for Alys Gazette

“I wanted to create pots that are reminiscent of vessels found in ancient Greek and Roman gardens. Those things have been around for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years!”

“It’s peaceful and beautiful, and not too far from the luxury of grocery stores, if you know what I mean. Some small towns around here don’t even have gas stations. Sullivan is a perfect place to work and live if you don’t mind a few feet of snow every now and then.”

Phid Lawless, of Lunaform, where he makes handcrafted vessels in Northern Maine. Photographed for the Alys Gazette

All images © Greta Rybus

New Feature Work for Outside Magazine: "What Happens When You Teach a Cowboy to Sail"

Or, alternate title: “Our Love is like a Ship on the Ocean”

New work for Outside Magazine, images to accompany the saga of a sailor-turned cowgirl and mountain man / cowboy out on the sea. Claire Antoszewski and Will Grant co-wrote the story of their adventure on the sea, and what it meant to weather the open water as a couple.

“Entering unfamiliar harbors can be dodgy; enter in the dark during a storm and it’s downright scary. But cold and tired, we beat doggedly toward Gloucester. We couldn’t see Norman’s Woe, the fabled site of many shipwrecks to the southwest of the harbor, but there was a faint blinking light warning us to steer clear. We could barely make out the lobster pots until we were almost on top of them. There were hundreds, their malevolent little lines ready to wrap around any propeller that came too close. Our new spotlight didn’t work. We rounded the break wall and picked up the first mooring we came across. I tried to hail the yacht club it belonged to on the radio, but there was no answer. Closed for winter. We cooked two boxes of macaroni and cheese, devoured it in heaping, steaming spoonfuls, and went to bed. It was a night of rolling and bucking, and not between the sheets. Like two corpses we lay, straining our ears to make sure that Goose was still tied to the mooring. The wind mocked us all.”

- Claire Antoszewski

“By now, Claire and I had our routine dialed. No other aspect of our life together required the communication or cooperation of managing the boat. Claire was the captain, I the mate. We worked together. We solved our problems—not the kind that send flat-footed couples to therapy, but the kind that require someone on deck and someone aloft, someone to tie in the reef lines and someone to steer the boat head to wind. We relied on each other. I wasn’t ready to sell the horses and buy our dog a life jacket, but the experience further convinced us that we could spend our lives together—on land and sea.”

-Wil Grant

Read the full feature here.
All images © Greta Rybus for Outside Magazine

Adventures in Zanzibar - An Island Gem of the Indian Ocean

Images from an adventure to Zanzibar, an island with a rich history and complex culture off the coast of Tanzania. Zanzibar reminded me from a favorite story, the title selection from a favorite collection of short stories: “The Shell Collector,” by Idaho-based writer, Anthony Doerr.

“Why this lattice ornament? Why these fluted scales, those lumpy nodes? Ignorance was, in the end, and in so many ways, a privilege: to find a shell, to feel, it, to understand only on some unspeakable level why it bothered to be so lovely. What joy he found in that, what utter mystery.

Every six hours the tides plowed shelves of beauty onto the beaches of the world, and here he was, able to walk out into it, thrust his hands into it, spin of piece of it between his fingers. To gather up seashells - each one an amazement- to know their names, to drop them into a bucket: this was what filled his life, what overfilled it.”

© Greta Rybus

The New Makers: New England Artists Photographed for Yankee Magazine

“Their skills are as old as New England itself; their materials, timeless. But there’s a modern gleam that run through the work of the 10 artisans in these pages, each pushing the bounds of what’s expected while still keeping that essential connection: hand to hand, theirs to ours.”

Ten New England artist photographed for Yankee Magazine: Forrest Stone, Addie Peet, James and Zoe Zillian, John Welch, Jeremy Frey, Tanya Monique Crane, Linny Kenney, Ruben Marroquin, Moriah Cowles, and Melinda Cox. Written by Annie Graves.

All images © Greta Rybus for Yankee Magazine

Bill Mackowski, one of the last snowshoe makers, for Another Escape

“I’ve been a woodsman my entire life. I’ve hunted and trapped and spent time out in the woods since I was a kid. In the winter, we always had to use snowshoes and pack baskets, and as I got older I took an interest in making my own. I originally started making snowshoes when I was in my late thirties, when I was kind of going through a midlife crisis.There was an old fella here in Maine called Dick McCubrey who made snowshoes – one of the last guys left – and I asked him to make me a pair. He said, “Listen, why don’t I teach you how to make your own?” I said, “Gee, that sounds like a great idea”. From him, I learnt the basics for a pretty standard working snowshoe, and that’s where it all started. 

People tend to overlook the importance of snowshoes for the spread of civilization. They often don’t realize the incredible history and impact snowshoes have had. They go way back to the original expansion of civilization; for so long, travel was restricted to canoes, but the snowshoe opened up areas that were otherwise totally inaccessible. “

Bill Mackowski is considered to be among the last snowshoe makers. He makes snowshoes and pack baskets by hand in his workshop on his farm in Milford, Maine- where he also houses a collection of over 200 snowshoes from around the world in every size, shape, and tradition. Photographed for Another Escape.

All images © Greta Rybus for Another Escape

Revisiting Japan, an old home

I’m thinking about Japan this week: craving miso, kombu, persimmon. I grew up in Idaho, and consider it my home, but spent two of my teenage years in Northern Japan. So, Japan is my home, too. Just like Maine is my home; and Montana, where I went to college. The prefecture where my family spent those years is be the home of Aomori, the sister city of my now-home in Maine. They have similar climates and geography: rocky coastlines, thick forests, economies shaped by fishing, and long winters. It’s where I first started practicing photography in a dedicated way, the first time I learned to love a new home, the first time I saw winter surfers. I haven’t been back to Aomori since leaving in 2003, but last December I was able to revisit Southern Japan with chef/artist/guide Kaia Sisu Harper to document Japan’s plant-based food systems.

During our time together , we met Ten, a Buddhist monk, photographed at Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto. A year later, he is now the head priest of the Ensho-Ji Temple in Tokyo. Last December, Ten showed me and a small group of other travelers around Nanzen-ji, taking us to hidden rooms with gold painted ceilings and quiet halls that smelled like incense. He introduced us to the concept of “goen,” a word that is close to the English word "fate" or "connected-ness," used when some random occurrence(s) seem to have happened by reason, or was meant to happen. With the help of Toshi Iwaki, I asked Ten if he had any messages he’d like me to know about or share. He wrote, “"声無き想いを伝える、受ける。この縁に毎度感無量です.” Not easily translated, the text breaks down as:

声無き = [adj.] voiceless, soundless
想い = [n.] thoughts, ideas, intentions 
伝える = [v.] to tell, to transmit
受ける = [v.] to receive
この = [adj.] this
縁 = [n.] goen; connection, fate
毎度 = [adj.] every time
感無量 = [adj.] fulfilled, deeply moved
です = [v.] to be

Not easily simplified, the phrase can mean:
(1) Having the opportunity to communicate thoughts without voice; it is my source of fulfillment. (2) Every opportunity to exchange thoughts without talking; it is what fulfills me.
(3) Communicating voiceless thoughts.  These opportunities are my source of fulfillment. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Toshi, who was with us in the temple that day, and kind enough to help me translate, told me, “My interpretation of his words is that your thoughts (mind/intention) change into something else as soon as you put them into words (or, as soon as you speak). 

All images © Greta Rybus

The Home As Art: A Curator's Renovated Church for Remodelista

Donna McNeil is a woman wholly devoted to the arts: as an executive director, arts advocate, storyteller, and curator. Last year, she bought an 1851 church in Rockland, Maine; shaping the space with a curator’s mind and a vision based on art and community. She shares her home with one artist tenant: “My housemate is a young artist who is engaged in an ongoing project centered around the idea of the ancient faith-based idea of ‘radical hospitality,'” she says. “Every two weeks we—she, really—invite the entire community in for bread, soup, and cake.”

“As a person without family, I wanted to welcome in community,” she continued. “Working in the arts, it was natural that I would have creatives using the space as they envisioned. I’ve had a cello performance, a book reading, a sound installation, a sculpture exhibit, and dance.” 

Photographed for Remodelista, with interview and writing by Annie Quigley. Read the full article here.

Salt Water Farm's Annemarie Ahearn + Sheldon Ceramics

“I love two things about cooking, really. I love how visceral it is: touching all of the senses. The smells alone keep me at attention for hours on end. And I love what it calls for in the final act: a gathering of people to share food and conversation, something that has been so important to people for millennia.”

Annemarie Ahearn of Salt Water Farm, photographed as part of a collaboration with Sheldon Ceramics.

All images © Greta Rybus

High Ridge Farm Photographed for Remodelista

Katee Lafleur and Andrew White found an old farm property on Maine FarmLink, a division of Maine Farmland Trust, when they were living in Vermont and looking to make a move. “We felt like we were suddenly in on the secret that is the midcoast of Maine,” Lafleur says. As they set about tilling the land—they grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and raise chickens and woodland hogs—they also turned their attention to the 1835 farmhouse, drawing from instinct and learning as they went. “I was drawn to the simplicity and bare-bonedness,” Lafleur says. They took the walls down to the plaster, sourced extraordinary vintage finds from Craigslist and Goodwill, and added hides and bleached-white bones, relics of their butchered animals. The result: stripped-down and striking interiors that, like the farm, are a constant work in progress.

New work for High Ridge Farm for Remodelista. Caption adapted from writer and editor Annie Quigley's story, which you can read (with more images from the home and farm here). 

All images © Greta Rybus
 

Blending Culture and Community to Combat Addiction: the Penobscot Healing to Wellness Court

The Penobscot Healing to Wellness Court has many of the basic functions of state drug courts, which seek to foster recovery rather than punitive actions. Like most courts, the Healing to Wellness Court provides intensive case management and counseling, frequent drug testing, and a balance of sanctions and incentives. The tribe’s court is different; incorporating culture and tradition as a part of recovery. Each court session starts with a prayer and a smudging- burning sage and traditional medicines. Participants are expected to attend regular drumming circles, language classes, and cultural events and activities. And, perhaps most importantly, a central tenant of the program is to focus as much on community healing as on individual healing.

New assignment work for independent nonprofit journalism group Pine Tree Watch, published in the Bangor Daily News, story written by Chelsea Conaboy

All images © Greta Rybus
 

India Part Two: Bangalore to Mysore for Lodestars Anthology

This May, at the edge of India's hottest season, I traveled from Bangalore to Mysore for UK-based travel magazine Lodestars Anthology. With Kamalan Travels as my guide, I visited palaces and temples, sacred river banks and thriving silkworm farms. The area is more popular with local tourists than foreign visitors, with thousands of Indian visitors each day. 

Read more about Lodestar Anthology's India Issue here

All images © Greta Rybus

Documenting Stories of Lubec, Maine with the First Coast

In May, I collaborated with audio reporter and storyteller Galen Koch to document stories in Lubec, Maine, a town of under 1,300 people in Nothern Maine. The project was part of Galen's project The First Coast. 

I asked Galen to send me some official information about her project. It’s a huge endeavor with really unique and meaningful goals, so I wanted to get it right. This is what she told me: “The First Coast tells stories by Mainers, for Mainers. Traveling to three towns along the Maine coast each year, the TFC team gathers interviews, archival audio + video, soundscapes, and photographs to be made into site-specific exhibits that aim to give stories back to the community.  Traveling in a renovated 1976 Airstream, TFC stays in each Maine town for one month - engaging community members in conversation about the place they live in year-round. The First Coast is an initiative to collect sounds, stories, images, and ideas that contribute to a collective coastal memory and seek to reconstruct existing narratives and mythologies of both Maine and Mainers.”

All images © Greta Rybus for the First Coast

Brooke Beaney of Judith Maine, Muse of Anaak

"My husband’s grandparents (Reamer and Louise) first went to Cliff Island in 1933. It was during the depression, they had no money. They were invited to spend their honeymoon in the family cottage of Reamer’s college roommate. They fell in love with the Island and started going there every summer to rent a cottage near the one where they honeymooned. In 1945 they bought two shore-lined acres of land on the Eastern side of the Island and a single-car garage from someone on the opposite side of the Island, which they somehow transported across the island to convert into their very own first Cliff Island cottage...

... I always say: I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to start and grow my business in Maine. While I had a theory, I didn’t realize just how perfect it would be for me until we got going. I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do but with a certain amount of space and time that I don’t think I would ever have had in NY. In turn, we can offer a shopping experience to our customers at that same pace, with that same amount of space to explore and try new things. All of this, plus I get to smell and hear the sound of the ocean when I pull into my driveway at the end of the day." - Brooke Beaney

I recently photographed my dear friend Brooke Beaney, the vision behind Judith Maine for Anaak on Cliff Island with her family at 21 weeks pregnant. 

All images © Greta Rybus for Anaak

Climate Change and the Lobster Industry, photographed for the New York Times

"Since the early 1980s, climate change had warmed the Gulf of Maine’s cool waters to the ideal temperature for lobsters, which has helped grow Maine’s fishery fivefold to a half-billion-dollar industry, among the most valuable in the United States. But last year the state’s lobster landings dropped by 22 million pounds, to 111 million.

Now, scientists and some fishermen are worried that the waters might eventually warm too much for the lobsters, and are asking how much longer the boom can last.“Climate change really helped us for the last 20 years,” said Dave Cousens, who stepped down as president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association in March. But, he added, “Climate change is going to kill us, in probably the next 30.”

Since 2015, my personal work has centered around investigating and documenting how climate change impacts people and communities. I was so pleased to have an assignment with the New York Times to photograph how climate change will shape the lobster industry, with excellent writing and reporting by Livia Allbeck-Ripka. 

Read the article in the New York Times here

All images © Greta Rybus for the New York Times 

The Story of Cochineal, photographed with Rebecca Stumpf for Knit Wit

This spring, I teamed up with my friend, fellow photographer Rebecca Stumpf and we traveled to the Canary Islands in search of cochineal. Cochineal is an insect, grown only on cacti and harvested to create hues of reds and pinks. Discovered nearly 200 years ago in the Canary Islands, the islands quickly controlled 90% of the production, generating much of the economic energy throughout the Spanish colonies.

“Cochineal is very important in the Canary Islands. It is our most traditional crop and is in danger of extinction.” Farmer Lorenzo Perez Jr. told us. “Most cochineal farmers are in their seventies or older, the young generation isn’t working in cochineal or as artisans or small producers.” Their company, called Canaturex, is the only cochineal farm certified by the EU. They supply to textile companies and independent artists primarily, but cochineal is also used to color meats, yogurt, ice cream, artificial crab, chewing gum, sweets and beauty products.

Many told us that cochineal was a part of the islands. So, photographers enamored with color and landscapes, we set out to learn more. Rebecca and I met with cochineal farmers, a natural dyer, artist, and activists to learn about cochineal's past and present. The story is now in the latest issue (the last print issue!) of Knit Wit. 

All images © Greta Rybus for Knit Wit

Julie O'Rourke photographed for Cup of Jo

Cup of Jo, a beloved blog with substance run by Joanna Goddard, has an ongoing column about women and their everyday style. They recently featured Julie O'Rourke, designer and founder at Rudy Jude, and I was thrilled to take some images in the tradition of street style. Julie shared some of her own designs and favorite pieces, and how she wears them into her pregnancy with her second child.

Images © Greta Rybus for Cup of Jo