Michael Blanchard Inspirational Photography

The great thing about social media is it can introduce you to a few of your favorite things! That’s what happened to me several years ago when I came upon a  Michael Blanchard  photograph on Facebook I’ve been a fan ever since!

Michael lives and works in Maine and makes trips to Martha’s Vineyard almost every weekend. He wakes up before the crack of dawn and in the solitude and the solstice of early morning sunrise  and sunsets  makes photographs that have become to known as inspirational photographs. You see, many take a photograph, but Michael has a way of creating images that evoke something inside yourself. That’s why he  has over 43,000 people follow him on Facebook.

Polaroid Camera

Michael’s first camera was a Polaroid camera he received as a teenager. But it wasn’t until the age of 54 that he found his interest in photography.  He recalls the first successful long exposure shot of Lucy Vincent. He sat quietly for an hour after that and felt so connected. That’s when he knew photography would be an important part of his life. The camera became a means of being quiet and reflective. It got him out of the house and on the beaches and he found a lost spirituality.

 

Why Martha’s Vineyard

It was a sailboat trip to MV  that would change Michael’s life! Once there he had the immediate, explainable desire to stay.  A few years later, he married a woman who had a home on the island. That is what we like to call Serendipity!  Michael has openly discussed in an open forum his ongoing recovery from the disease of alcoholism and the pain of his subsequent divorce from his wife. The island of Martha’s Vineyard and the art of photography helped to heal him.

 

3 Favorite Places

Lucy Vincent Beach, Moshup Beach and Menemsha are his three favorite places on the island. Being a big Jaws fan, he can see Hooper, Quint and Chief Brody heading out to sea to get the shark every time he sees the little fishing shacks in Menemsha.

Sunrise or Sunset

Sunset is the time he loves best to photograph. The colors are different than at sunrise. He finds more interesting shots as evening approaches. But, he does admit some of his best photographs have been taken at sunrise.

 

Fighting For My Life

Fighting For My Life Finding Hope and Serenity on Martha’s Vineyard, is the book that has helped Michael with his demons. He found while displaying his photographs on Facebook for the world to see, people responded to his words from healing from addiction, as much as the photos themselves. The two went hand-in-hand.  With a talent to take photographs that people liked and a want and need to share the life changing events. The book served the purpose as a cathartic  ” spilling out” of what he went through as a further means of how helping to heal. The book was designed and constructed to help raise money for addiction treatment, and most importantly, to help reduce the  shame alcoholics and addicts feel about their disease.  He wanted people to see the real and torturous existence of an alcoholic so they could better understand the disease and then use this information to help others who are struggling. He wants those who are struggling to know ” there is no shame as long as you take responsibility for your recovery”.

The Calendar

In May 2016 Michael will release a brand new calendar to help raise money for the Martha’s Vineyard  New Path’s Addiction Treatment Program and to increase awareness that additional resources are needed to fight the disease of addiction. Some of his stories and poetry and words of wisdom will be included to help those who need a boost of “hope”.  Thousands of his Facebook fans helped vote to choose the photos that will be in the calendar. It will be available through his website, several other websites as well as stores all over Martha’s Vineyard. The proceeds after costs will go to the New Paths Program.

Inspiration

Ansel Adams inspires Michael more  for what he said “photographs are made not taken” .  Adams would work in the darkroom for hours working to get the contrast right on a print.I In Michael’s case, editing photos is his creative escape.  Adams is his hero for “allowing” him to edit and experience the joy of creating something that is “him” and beautiful from the raw material generated by the camera.

3 Things You Should Know

  1. The Camera is his means of connecting to whatever spirituality or divine energy that exists in the world. It is important in keeping him grounded and in the moment.
  2. The editing of photos is a means of creative expression he never had and allows him to channel feelings and emotions that would otherwise stay bottled up inside.
  3.  Photography is the window to the soul. He plans on using imagery  and cameras to help teenagers heal from addictions to drugs and alcohol. People can literally express themselves in the photos they choose to take.

Michael Blanchard Inspirational Photography

To view his collection or order a book or calendar visit Michael Blanchard’s website and  follow him on  Facebook

On Island, you can find his work at Kennedy Studios in Vineyard Haven and Kelly House Gallery in Edgartown. This Summer his art will be displayed at a number of Black Dog stores throughout New England.

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I LOVE Movie Set Places

I LOVE movie set places and in New England there are many!

Straight Warf - Nantucket

Straight Wharf

What I really love are waterfront and coastal towns that have a vibe to them. Yes, sometimes they are very busy, especially in-season.  I like to visit them off-season, early in the morning or at sunset….You know the magical times! Which is not to say the magic isn’t there when things are bustling. Here’s a look at three of my favorite places that evoke that magical feeling.

Perkins Cove

I’ve been going to Perkins Cove for over 25 years. Guess what, every time I go it’s just as magical as the first time I was there! I love the small paths with shops and restaurants. I still remember going into the Pottery Shop at Perkins Cove for the first time and being in awe of their hand crafted goods. I love finding true New England finds in all the shops here. Restaurants like Barnacle Billy’s and MC Perkins are casual and relaxing and serve good food.

I’ve taken Finest Scenic Cruises to Nubble lighthouse and I’ve walked the Marginal Way in all seasons.   Beyond the shops, restaurants and bustle, it’s the moments you experience! The moments when the sun is rising and there is barely anyone there as you take photos. Or the windy winter days where snow is hitting you sideways. Or it’s the smell of salt water while you are enjoying an ice cream or coffee. That ‘s the movie set life of scenic places I love. I can’t wait to breathe it all in again on my next visit to Perkins Cove.

Sunapee Harbor

Sunapee Harbor is a movie set! Well at least it looks like one! This has been a popular destination for summer vacations since the days of the steamship, when people use to come from Boston and New York City. The Grand Hotels are long gone but beautiful custom homes dot Lake Sunapee.

It’s a great place to visit in Summer when the few shops in the harbor are open. Lunch or dinner at the Anchorage is a must as is ice cream from the Quick Shack. A highlight here is Sunapee Cruises narrative scenic and dinner cruises.  The views on their sunset cruises are great and the air is so clean. Being in the center of Lake Sunapee is one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been. 

  Nantucket

Cru Nantucket

View from Cru Nantucket. Every seat in the house has a great view!

I have a funny story about Nantucket. I was there twice over 30 years ago…pretty much just around Straight Wharf and town for the day. So that was my early Nantucket experience, no beach and the shops are not what they are today! Then for many years, when I would hear or read about Nantucket in tourism pieces I read there was barely any electricity on the island and you needed a bike to get around the island.

Two years ago I lived on Cape Cod for a year. I went to Nantucket several times because it is one of the most coolest places I have ever been! I have met a circle of people  who are the most creative individuals I have ever met! Enter Serendipity Again! I have learned more from these people and about about myself in the last two years than I could have ever imagined!

My admiration for these designers, shop owners, entrepreneurs and creative people that promote the island runs deep.  Honestly, almost daily, when I am not there…I am thinking about it…wishing I was there. In my opinion, there are more creative trend-setting things happening on Nantucket than in New York City!

 There is a coastal vibe from people who live and work here year round who literally travel all over the world for their work.  Nantucket is pure eye candy! From the shops on the wharf which catch the most amazing light. Each shop is creative in its own way and the staff are always so hospitable,  smiling, helpful and so upbeat!

From Sankaty Lighthouse to Brant Point the ACK feeling is amazing! Sconset can only be described as breathtaking + delicious. View some of the best sunrises and walks on the beach and sunsets at Galley Beach are speechless.

The food and presentation at ACK restaurants like Cru, Straight Wharf and Town Restaurant are among the world’s best! Plus, there are many other restaurants that are open during the season that are equally as good. If the best in shopping and dining weren’t enough…Nantucket has some of the world’s best beaches.  You can see the sunrise and sunset like nowhere else! Everywhere you turn, there is magic on this island! 

There is peace! There is  a quiet that I have only experienced while living on Cape Cod. Clearly, there is a creative vibe among the people who live, work and play here that is second to none! No wonder people call Nantucket their “Happy Place”! It will be good to be bACK!

All Photos by Melissa Tyler

 

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