AUGUSTA — Maine is more diverse than it might appear.

Proving that is the aim of a massive photography exhibit, “Everyday Maine,” coming to the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. The hope of the center is that the work will show that diversity is part of what makes the state such an interesting place.

Curator Bruce Brown is working this week to install the exhibit, featuring 190 photographs by 72 photographers. The photographs have one thing in common: they’re all photographs of Mainers. Beyond that, however, the photographs — like Mainers — are a diverse bunch.

“They’re all photographs with Mainers in them, at work, at play, in education, in social gatherings, in formal gatherings, all kinds of ways,” said David Greenham, associate director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center. “It reflects not only racial diversity and ethnic diversity, but also economic diversity and the geographical diversity of Maine.

“Maine is a real hodgepodge of different kinds of people. That’s really one of the things that makes Maine such an interesting place, because you see all kinds of different Maines when you drive around the state,” he added. “We wanted to see if there was a way to put together an exhibit to capture that.”

Greenham said often when school groups come to the center for educational programs on civil rights, teachers will say their schools are not very diverse. He said they generally mean Maine schools aren’t diverse in the skin color or ethnicities of their students. But he noted Mainers are very diverse in their economic backgrounds, educations, family structure, occupations, abilities, traditions and in numerous other ways. And they live in cities, small towns, and rural areas in posh waterfront mansions, suburban middle-class homes and rundown buildings.


Brown, who selected the photographs with Greenham, said they tried to select photographs that would cover as many geographic areas of the state as they could, and include a wide array of talented photographers.

Some photographs, such as a photo taken inside the iconic B&M Baked Beans factory on the Portland waterfront, were specifically requested by the center, while most others were existing photographs of various time periods. The oldest are by the late photographer and Maine resident Berenice Abbott from the 1940s.

The photographs are expected to be on display next week, with an official opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta

Greenham said the theme fits with the center’s human and civil rights mission, in showing that part of what makes Maine special is its diversity of people who live together there.

“One of the challenging issues we always face is this idea of ‘us’ and ‘them,’” Greenham said. “The goal of this exhibit is to show there’s not ‘us’ and ‘them,’ there’s ‘we.’ This is a portrait of us as Mainers. And the so many reasons to be proud of that.”

Bruce Brown on Monday considers where to hang the 190 photos for the “Everyday Maine” exhibit that will be on display next week at The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine in Augusta. Brown, the curator, said 72 photographers contributed images “from as much of Maine as possible to cover as many areas as we could.” (Staff photo by Andy Molloy)

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