The story of a Northern Maine father of 13 who worked as a photographer, blacksmith, barber, musician, woodsman and mechanic comes to life through a historical documentary and live multimedia presentation by Maine filmmaker, composer and performer, Sumner McKane and Joshua Robbins.  Presented by the Farmington Historical Society, the show will begin at 7 pm at North Church, located at 118 High Street. Desserts will be available starting at 6 pm. Tickets are $15 (Students $10 and $5) and reservations can be made by calling 207-778-2006.

The Maine Frontier: Through the Lens of Isaac Walton Simpson highlights a collection of over 1,500 scarcely-seen photographs taken around the turn-of-the-century by Amity, Maine native, Isaac W. Simpson.  Simpson’s exemplary documentary photography is complimented by archived and current films; interviews of Simpson family members, and a compelling musical soundtrack composed by McKane. The Maine Frontier is a vivid and authentic illustration of northern Maine at the turn-of-the-century and transports audiences back to the region’s pioneering frontier culture. Isaac Simpson, his photographic subjects, his wife Effie, their friends, family, and work-mates exemplify the character and condition prevalent in northern Maine at that time.

Isaac Simpson’s occupational skills brought him to woods camps and farms in the far reaches of the northern Maine. He witnessed and documented the construction of the Great Northern Paper Company Mill in East Millinocket, and the hundreds of immigrant laborers who were recruited to work and construct the mills. He photographed the poor, the wealthy, the accommodations on “Shack Hill” and “Little Italy” in Millinocket, lumbermen, river drivers, farmers, and their families. In trying to earn extra money to support his family of 13 children, Isaac Simpson created the quintessential photographic social history of northern Maine at the turn-of-the-century.

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Sumner McKane is a filmmaker and composer based in Wiscasset, Maine. He records instrumental music, film scores, and music for media. He produces historical documentaries along with companion live presentations to his films. In a few short years, Sumner has built a reputation for innovative historical storytelling using multimedia, combining various mediums to tell a historical story in a live setting. Sumner studied photography in Missoula, Montana at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and the University of Montana. He graduated from the University of Southern Maine with high honors in history. His music is often featured on NPR’s Echoes program, and he is a recent Maine Arts Commission Performing Arts and Media Fellow award recipient. McKane is accompanied by Josh Robbins on bass guitar. Robbins is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter and has recorded and performed with McKane for over a decade.


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