Tonee Harbert is a photographer living in Portland, Maine. His frequent subjects have been Maine people and the Maine landscape. His work traverses the documentary, editorial, and fine art photography realms.
Harbert has received grants from the Maine Arts Commission, and the Maine Community Foundation. His work has appeared in the following books: Elmer Walker: Hermit to Hero, Maine: A Peopled Landscape, New Music Across America, and Homeless in America. His photographs have been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Portland Museum of Art, Danforth Museum of Art, University of Miami (FL), the Institute of Contemporary art at Maine College of Art, and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. In 2013 he won an Emmy award. His photographs have also been included in two motion pictures: Home Less Home (independent), and Message in a Bottle (Warner Brothers). Harbert received a degree in Visual Communication from Ohio University in 1986.
This photographic exploration about the logging industry in Maine was originally commissioned by the Maine Museum of Photographic Arts. I am interested in people that work the land, and the tools and implements they use for their work.
Maine has a logging tradition that reaches back 300 years. By as early as 1685, the Maine woods were being utilized by Great Britain for the tall, straight pines which made ideal masts for ships in the King's Navy.
In 2011 the tradition continues with many local economies now affected by the logging industry, and the future of Maine land use regulation in the balance. Present-day logging practices cover the spectrum from a solitary woodsman using horses to pull logs out of the forest, to crews operating sophisticated hydraulic machinery that can clear timber at the rate of 200 trees per hour.
The photographs in this show are a work in progress. To date I have photographed two logging outfits, both in Porter, Maine. One was a small operation, consisting of Lester Norton Jr., and his brother Glen, that uses a cable skidder and chainsaws to take logs selectively from the forest. The other was a larger operation run by R.C. McLucas, which uses larger equipment and is capable of delivering several truckloads of logs per day to the mill.
My technique involves shooting film with a plastic Diana Camera, from the 1960's. The camera lends an ethereal cast to the images that reflects the mood of the world that I see.
Tonee Harbert has explored an interest in Maine culture through his photography over a period of twenty years. In that time he has photographed fishermen, shepherds, and migrant farm workers, presidents, island people and city people.