Over the years I have amassed a considerably large archive of photographs that I have made in my hometown of Portland, Maine. In fact, I've done the math: for the last seven years I have made over 60,000 photos (made almost exclusively in the greater Portland area) on various different subjects. That averages out to about 24 exposures a day for the last seven years. Please don't get me wrong, as I am not sharing this info to brag by any means, rather I'm sharing these statistics to help you better understand why I have come to the conclusion to publish a photographic zine based on Portland, Maine in the first place. Clearly, I have made these photos with a fire lit inside me, an urge to document something bigger than myself yet dear to me, and that’s exactly what Portland is.
In all honesty I'm really not a true Portlander, as I was born in Brockton, Massachusetts on December 4th 1981. I consider Portland to be my hometown, though. I moved to Newbury St. with my family at the age of 11 in late 1991 and, in retrospect, I now see how much this city has helped shape me into the man I am today. Times sure have changed since then, but in my opinion the true nature of this city is still very much alive and resides within its long term residents: the bluecollar working class, the lobstermen and fishermen, the artists and their patrons. I often say “there's a great story for every brick in this city by the sea” and that’s what I'm always trying to capture: our great history, the true nature of everyday life here, or perhaps I could say I am continually searching for the everlasting true soul of Portland and it's people.
I know what most of you are thinking right now, “Wait, I thought this article was about publishing a zine”, and I promise you it is. So, let's get right down to it. The first question I'm going to get from an outsider is “What the heck does Machigonne mean?” For those of you unfamiliar with the word, Portland was formerly known as Machigonne to the indigenous people of the region and so I found the name quite fitting for this publication. It is my hope, with your support, to publish 3 to 4 issues a year. Each issue will bring you a fresh new perspective of Portland, Maine through my many photographic works on various subjects throughout the city, from a look at what lies beneath the streets to everyday life of the 67,000 or so residents that call this port their home.
What better place is there to start than the ground up? And when I say ground, I literally mean under the ground of Portland. I began exploring the subterranean realms of the city as that young boy living on Newbury St. Being a curious kid by nature and a bit of an introvert, it wasn't long before I found myself in places I had no business being in the first place. Many years later, it came quite naturally to me to revisit these sub-street infrastructures, this time with the intention of getting to know the city on a deeper level (no pun intended) and to try and wrap my head around how a city functions. Whether I'd like to admit it or not, the drive to simply see something new in a town that is now overly familiar to me as an adult also plays a factor for this body of work. I found that the more time I spent beneath the surface making photographs (over six years) the more I realized there was true value to the images I was making, not only to me but to the city itself in a historical sense and perhaps even its future development.
At a glance, a city could be relatively compared to a living, breathing organism. It has a pulse, a life cycle and one could say it roots itself deep into the earth, much like a tree. Like roots, these complex and often overlooked subterranean systems sustain life at the surface. Without these infrastructure networks, life as we know it would come to a halt. These vital systems bring us our water, provide us with energy and lights, yet we hardly ever think of them unless they fail. Only when our daily lives are interrupted are we even aware of their importance and connection to us as a whole and individuals. Within the pages of Machigonne Nº.1, I present to you just a fraction of what lies beneath: the stormwater drains, sewer systems, utility tunnels and the former harbor defenses. It is an abstract yet essential look into the underground worlds of our beloved city by the sea. As our city is ever-growing, so too is our responsibility as Machigonne's stewards to see its future become a sustainable one.
- -Published by Legacy Photo Collective
- -Pre-orders open March 20th, 2018
- -Publishing date April 3rd, 2018
- -First edition, 75 standard editions.
- -25 special editions signed + 5x7 print.
- -Photographs by Nicholas Gervin
- -Text / Edit by Michelle Ferris
- -Introduction by Nicholas Gervin
- -40 pages, 80# gloss text
- -Soft cover, 80# gloss cover stock, saddle stitch
- -Printed in Portland, Maine U.S.A.
Pre-orders open March 20th 2018.