Background: Maine
While Porter's visits to Maine became less frequent after he moved to New Mexico in 1946, he always viewed Great Spruce Head Island as his second home. That Penobscot Bay island, which his father had bought in 1910, was a steady source of inspiration and the foundation for his love of forests, the sea, and photography. In 1949 Porter started capturing the region in color, photographing some of the same locations that he had shot previously in black and white, though with more attention to the details of nature. He returned in the mid-1950s to collect more images for an autobiography. His commercial success with the Sierra Club opened the door to publishing that text, and in 1963 and 1964 he returned to the island for the first time in eight years to make color photographs for Summer Island: Penobscot Country (1966). His popular and commercial successes of the 1960s allowed him to return more frequently over the next two decades, until failing health in the mid-1980s made such visits too difficult. In 1986 Porter published Maine, a more general retrospective of his images there. The Porter collection holds close to 900 dye transfer prints of the artist's Maine work.

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