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Before her death in 1910, Nettie Cummings Maxim chronicled the people, landscapes, and animals of a typical Maine farm at Bird Hill in Bethel at the turn of the century. In a time before mass media, her world consisted almost entirely of her family and farm. This intimate familiarity with her immediate world and a degree of cultural isolation allowed Nettie to explore and capture on film the details of farm life through the seasons and the innocence and wisdom in the eyes of the children whose lives were so closely entwined with life on a rural Maine hill farm. After one look at her photographs, her innate artistic talent becomes immediately apparent: her use of natural light, the composition of her images, and her eye for detail lend a tremendously beautiful, evocative quality to her images. She turned the long exposures mandated by film at the turn of the century to her advantage, and somehow manages to create the illusion of motion in her photographs. Through her cameras, Nettie recorded the world that was so endearing to her, a world that has gone largely undocumented by photography. In doing so, she has given immortality to the people, buildings, and even the animals that were part of her life and her microcosm of society nearly a century ago, as well as giving us a rare insight into the intricacies of daily life in the nearby communities of Locke's Mills and Greenwood. Allow her to lead you back into life in rural Maine at the turn of the century: it is a journey worth making, and one that you will never forget.
About the Author
Authors Diane and Jack Barnes are historians, writers, and teachers. They have written extensively on Maine history.