PHOTOGRAPHY AND SOCIOLOGY IN A MAINE FOREST
Cathedral Woods on Monhegan island, Maine, is a naturally spiritual place. Densely packed with soaring pines, it covers a lush and wild stretch of the island and remains cool and serenely quiet throughout the day.
For decades, children have built small “houses” out of twigs, bark and fallen leaves that are intended to shelter the forest’s alleged sprite and fairy populations. The houses are creatively tucked into nooks, woven into low hanging branches, shored up alongside protruding roots and even hidden in stumps and behind rocks.
It’s a swell tradition, but one that also has its detractors – namely those that object to the aspiring architects’ urge to build newer, flashier and more blinged-out abodes. The fairy housing boom has unfortunately seen its share of unscrupulous contractors who disregard local zoning rules (translation, they leave litter behind, build new rather than renovate, and often kill living plants for their creations… just like in the real world).
While photographing these structures this summer, I thought about how they must reflect the homes and neighborhoods of the kids who built them. Pine cone paved driveways divide adjoining tracts along the main path, and countless other small details give them all a touch of individuality without ever straying too far from the norm. It’s a mini-suburb – of a big forest – on a tiny island.
© Markus Horak, 2011