Trekkers presented a slideshow featuring photographs from the 2009 Photo Treks program and participated in a panel discussion at the Working Waterways and Waterfronts 2010 National Symposium on Water Access in Portland last month.

Professional photographer Matthew Smolinsky led last year’s Photo Treks program – a collaborative photography endeavor between Trekkers, The Farnsworth Art Museum’s Julia’s Gallery, and Maine Media Workshops. The program engaged 17 students and five mentors who used digital photography to explore Midcoast Maine’s working waterfronts as a theme for documentary storytelling. The young photographers, ranging in age from 12 to 17, represented seven towns and six schools, from Cushing to Belfast. Together with community mentors, students traveled on the Trekkers bus to explore various field locations in the Midcoast area, including Wayfarer Marine in Camden, The Fisherman’s Co-op and Herring Gut Learning Center in Port Clyde, the Rockland Ferry Terminal, Belfast Harbor, and an Owl’s Head wharf.

Their diverse and compelling photographs highlighted waterfront workers, boats, birds, lobster crackers, buoys and much more and were featured in a photography exhibition, “Midcoast Maine: More than Meets the Eye,” hosted by the Farnsworth Art Museum’s Julia’s Gallery for Young Artists.

For the WWWF 2010 National Symposium, Smolinsky created a photographic slide show of the exhibit which provided a rotating backdrop of student’s working waterfront images while conference attendees from across the country snacked on locally sourced hors d’oeuvres during the opening reception. Trekkers Program Director, Meredith Lynt, spoke about the impact the Photo Treks program had on young people’s awareness of waterfront use and access issues and answered questions from attendees.

A day and half later, two student photographers traveled to the conference to participate in a panel discussion on the social and cultural impacts of preserving working waterfront history. Audrey Elliott, a freshman at Rockland District High School, and Sara Tarbox, a freshman at Georges Valley High School, shared their photographs with a small audience and answered questions about their perspectives on water access.

Due to the large success of the Photo Treks program last year, the program was implemented again for 2010. This fall the focus of the program was on Maine woods and culture. Students participated in a five-day expedition in the Big Lake area of Downeast Maine and engaged in a cultural exchange with the Passamaquoddy, a canoe paddle on Long Lake, adventure games, solo reflection, and photo editing at Maine Media Workshops. The opening exhibition date of the student-titled show, “New Perspectives: Our Photographic Journey Into the Woods,” will be shared at a later date.