Cities

From High Above Portsmouth

In October of this year, while shooting for the Portsmouth, New Hampshire edition of Around Town in New England magazine, I had the unusual opportunity to climb, literally, the steeple at the North Church to see the workings of its amazing clock. The magazine features a specific town in each issue and I have been doing the bulk of the photography for it for several issues. The latest issue features Portsmouth, NH. I grew up near Portsmouth and went to high school in nearby Dover, NH. Suffice it to say that Portsmouth has changed a great deal since then, and in a very good way. A beautiful, bustling downtown, full of restaurants, coffee shops, galleries and other small shops. You can check out the magazine on-line here: http://issuu.com/samray/docs/portsmouth

The clock in the steeple though is something to see, although not many people are allowed to ascend the stairs and eventually, ladders. I hope I can give you a hint of what it was like with these shots.

North Church, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

North Church, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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The view from the roof of the North Church, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

The view from the roof of the North Church, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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Local Farming Lives

I really want you to go out and get this month's Merrimack Valley Magazine! It should arrive on news stands around September 16th. I do have the fall fashion cover story, but I will talk about that in another blog. I want to talk about my local farming photo essay today though. I am really happy that I was able to pull this long-term story-in-pictures off! Working on it most of the Spring and early Summer, I got to visit a number of agricultural enterprises around the valley and meet with some really dedicated people, each of whom was more than happy to spend time giving me guided tours of their operations. I really do get to see aspects of some things that most people don't get to see or sometimes, even know about. Hopefully, this article will give you a taste for what is growing all around us. And speaking of taste, there is an accompanying article in which Carolyn Grieco, of Carolyn's Farm Kitchen, cooks up some of the dishes recommended by the farmers, just to be captured in my photos.

So please check out the magazine for the rest of the photos, the extended captions by Emilie-Noelle Provost, as well as the accompanying article with lots of recipes and food shots.

Farmer Dave checks the progress of his crop

Farmer Dave checks the progress of his crop

Farmer Dave's blueberry crop

Farmer Dave's blueberry crop

Mann Orchard crates await the harvest

Mann Orchard crates await the harvest

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Lydia and Francey, of Mill City Grows, discuss their city community garden in Lowell

Lydia and Francey, of Mill City Grows, discuss their city community garden in Lowell

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Jeanmerli of Groundwork Lawrence taking care of the weeds

Jeanmerli of Groundwork Lawrence taking care of the weeds

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Groundwork Lawrence... I love these!

Groundwork Lawrence... I love these!

The beautiful landscape of the Cider Hill Farm

The beautiful landscape of the Cider Hill Farm

Karen of Cider Hill Farm shows me what's growing

Karen of Cider Hill Farm shows me what's growing

I first met Karen and Glenn in the spring, shooting another assignment. Like all of the others that I visited, they were more than generous with their time and enthusiasm.

I first met Karen and Glenn in the spring, shooting another assignment. Like all of the others that I visited, they were more than generous with their time and enthusiasm.

Busy as...

Busy as...

Merrimack Valley Apiaries

Merrimack Valley Apiaries

And let's not forget the final product! 

And let's not forget the final product! 

A Collaborative Success

This winter, former Mad Man Pete Pedulla and I embarked on a video collaboration. This was in response to a call from the City of Lowell to compete for a prize that would be given to the best 15 second promotional spot for the city. The city decided to give two prizes, to two very different pieces, both of which are linked to in the press release that follows. Ours will be showing in theaters in the area before the feature films. If you see it, let me know. I would love to know that you saw it and what you thought.

CITY OF LOWELL ENGAGES LOCAL ARTISTS TO HELP PROMOTE THE CITY

City Manager, Special Events Office, and the Department of Planning & Development use the creative economy to create the message

[LOWELL, MA— May 23, 2013] The City of Lowell has been rebuilding itself through historical redevelopment and the creative economy since the 1980’s.  Now home to a large artist’s community, as well as the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Middlesex Community College, Lowell has become known for its wealth of artistic activity and resources.  So this year, when the City decided to create a marketing campaign, it made sense to turn to that local community.   The result  was a campaign of ads, films, and marketing materials that have made it into malls, the backs of buses, movie theaters, and people’s shopping carts, all designed by established and emerging Lowell artists.

“We’ve been talking about how important the creative economy is to Lowell for years now.  It just made sense that we would tap them when we were looking for some creative ideas to promote the City,” said Economic Development Director Theresa Park.  

The campaign first got off the ground when University of Massachusetts professor Karen Roehr approached the City about a grant she had received for her students to design a comprehensive marketing campaign for a business.  Roehr thought the City would be the best entity to promote and approached City Manager Bernie Lynch about the idea. “We weren’t entirely sure what to expect when we agreed to work with the students,” said Lynch, “but we are extremely pleased with the results.”

The UMass campaign designed by Jason Taylor, Juliana DeSouza, and Mike Noonan was incorporated into a series of ads promoting everything from dining and galleries to baseball and affordable housing.  The ads have been appearing in the Burlington Mall, as well as in MBTA bus shelters and on bus tails that have been travelling throughout the greater Boston area.  

The success of the UML campaign encouraged the City to reach out again to the community, this time with a pair of marketing contests:  the design of a “Lowell Bag” to be used for distribution at special events like the Lowell Folk Festival, and the creation of a 15-second ad to appear in movie theaters.   

Graphic designer Chase Compton won the bag competition by creating a stylized image of a factory with an entirely upper-cased LOWELL embedded in the design.  The winning picture was screen printed onto bags and sewn by local manufacturer UnWrapped, keeping the whole process “in-house”.  

Three artists shared the award for the best 15-second film.  Former New York ad man Peter Pedulla and local photographer Adrien Bisson teamed up to create a fast-paced montage of “what’s to like about Lowell,” narrated by local actresses Obehi Janice and Jacqueline O’ Kelly. The film is currently being shown at the AMC theatre in Woburn and begins screening in Burlington and Methuen later this spring.  The second film was created by Lowell filmmaker Joey Sylvester and presents a series of scenic vistas of Lowell over which are superimposed the defining characteristics of the City, including creativity and courage.  

While this is the first time the City has created a marketing campaign with local talent, it won’t be the last.  The Office of Economic Development is already working on plans to create a series of films to promote local businesses.  Park had this to say about the decision: “When you have the rich resources that we have here in Lowell, the adage ‘buy local’ is easy to achieve.”

Both winning films, Compton’s bag design, and the ad campaigns created by UMass Lowell can be viewed on the City’s website,  www.lowell.org

Pedulla/Bisson link

 https://vimeo.com/62023445

Sylvester link

 https://vimeo.com/57593352

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About The City of Lowell

A crossroad of commerce and creativity, the City of Lowell is a diverse urban environment. Named one of the best places to live by Boston Magazine, the City is characterized by its established arts community, distinct residences and commercial vitality.  The fourth largest city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Lowell is home to an eclectic mix of cultural attractions and events including the Lowell Folk Festival, Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell Memorial Auditorium and the Tsongas Arena.  A leader in urban redevelopment, Lowell offers a variety of residential and commercial space from renovated mills to modern high-rises.  Strategically located at the intersections of Routes 495, 93 and 3, Lowell has established itself as a leading business and entertainment destination throughout Massachusetts and Greater New England.  

Office of the City Manager

City Hall • 375 Merrimack Street • Lowell, MA 01852

P: 978.970.4000 • F: 978.970.4007

www.LowellMA.gov

Bernard F. Lynch

City Manager

James Knows Community Building

I met James Ostis a couple of years ago, in Lowell, at a Tweetup. At first soft-spoken, James' demeanor belies his drive to change things for the better. Formerly a legislative aid in the Office of Massachusetts State Representative Colleen M. Garry, he is currently project manager for the Lowell Heritage Partnership.

In speaking with him last night before we started making photographs, I was struck by his passion and enthusiasm. I hope he enjoys his photos. I know I enjoyed making them!

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James Ostis

James Ostis

Things that I Like

My thing is People Photography. I think I give that impression anyway. I'm not a marketing professional, but I read and can follow directions. So, since I love to photograph people, that's what I emphasize. Any good photographer though, can do many things. Not necessarily all things. I don't do weddings, sports, I really dislike grip-and-grin shoots... I could go on. I do enjoy making photographs that please me though. I have found that those are most often subjects that I am attracted to in the first place. Here are some. (Make sure you click on some of the captions. They have links)

I like to eat. Slowly. Small portions that taste. Heaping piles of stuff annoy me.

Here are some dishes that are decidedly not in that category.

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This, and the previous shot are of some dishes by Chef Carolyn Grieco, of Haverhill, MA

This, and the previous shot are of some dishes by Chef Carolyn Grieco, of Haverhill, MA

Rainy days make great shots in the summer. So green. This organization and the fields owner deserve a lot of credit!

Rainy days make great shots in the summer. So green. This organization and the fields owner deserve a lot of credit!

There's a rumor that I had some work published in a special Home edition of a local magazine...

There's a rumor that I had some work published in a special Home edition of a local magazine...

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The beautiful new interior of Lowell's Merrimack Rep (MRT)

The beautiful new interior of Lowell's Merrimack Rep (MRT)

Speaking of Lowell, Massachusetts...

Speaking of Lowell, Massachusetts...

Vendor preparing for Lowell's City of Lights parade

Vendor preparing for Lowell's City of Lights parade

Everyone Loves a Dog on the Cover

Before the premier of the Home issue of the Merrimack Valley Magazine is gone from the shelves, I thought I would post of few of my images from the pages of the magazine. Among other things, it features an extreme makeover in Andover, decorating ideas ranging from antiques to framing, beautiful lofts in Lawrence and a really inspiring Habitat for Humanity project. Oh, did I mention that these shoots were mine?

Transient
Transient
Transient
Transient
Transient

Blast from the Past

The latest edition of the Merrimack Valley Magazine features a fascinating article by Chris Markuns, my photos and a lot of up-front work by Christine Lewis, about the vanishing Social Club. I would imagine, like most people, my initial mental image was of dark woodwork, a fireplace, cigars and a cast who looked like the Monopoly guy sitting in leather chairs sipping single-malt scotch. Um... not exactly. These are neighborhood clubs in non-descript buildings in which groups of friends have gathered to hangout since they were kids in the neighborhood. I found the guys to be very welcoming. My visit was a truly interesting experience. Read about these clubs in the latest issue of the magazine!


Merrimack Valley's Private Social Clubs

If you have any questions or comments about this article, or anything else, I encourage you to leave a comment! And if you want to discuss a project, shoot me an email. I'll answer it! ---> http://www.adrienbisson.com/contact/

It Is the Season

You wouldn't know it from my recent blogging (or lack of it), but the last 6 weeks has been really busy. The uptick is definitely a good sign, from my observation point, for the economy.  It is tough to maintain a good blogging schedule when you are shooting regularly, but it is certainly a good problem to have! Another reason is that I have shot a couple of magazine cover stories in the past few weeks that I can't talk about until they are published. That's tough too, but goes with the territory. Suffice it to say, I will be mentioning them eventually!

 

I have been fortunate enough to have participated in a couple of shoots for non-profits that were fun. One was a fashion show put on by The Revolving Museum and the United Teen Equality Center, both of Lowell, Massachusetts.

  


And just a few weeks ago, The Cultural Organization of Lowell asked me to photograph Lowell's City of Lights festivities, for the second year. They put on a great hot chocolate contest among local merchants, a parade, as well as many other events in downtown Lowell. It was fun, but cold!!!

  

Take Another Look

I recently met up with Duey, a park ranger for the National Park Service, at the Lowell National Historical Park visitor center for our photo shoot. Duey has a lot of responsibility for the organization and smooth operation of the Lowell Folk Festival, which is one of the city's big events, and is going on as I write this.

I am constantly saying this to people who have not visited Lowell in a while, so at the risk of repeating myself (which almost never occurs!), Lowell is rapidly becoming a destination. Great food, art, music, festivals, businesses and community, as well as the national park. Duey and I were discussing where we should go for our photo shoot when she suggested the Riverwalk, behind the Lawrence Mills. The mill buildings there, like many in the rest of Lowell and some surrounding communities, have been converted to beautiful living spaces, and the grounds, including the previously mentioned River Walk, are a real asset to the city. Like many people though, I had never been there. It's an incredible space which I discovered thanks to my guide for the afternoon!

In spite of the day's intense sunlight, the Lawrence Mills building afforded us lots of shade which, in cooperation with the beautiful landscaping, made for perfect portrait lighting conditions.

Last Sunday in Boston

Sometimes it's easy to forget how photogenic your own city is. I am always reminded of that when I make the effort to go into Boston. Last Sunday my son and I did our own walking tour, starting from his apartment near Porter Square in Cambridge. We walked to Harvard Square to have lunch and then to the T to Park Street. We walked to the North End and along the warfs to South Station. Here are a few of my shots.

    I guess they are planning to do some work beneath the street...

  The light was amazing...