What do farming and food have to do with photography? For Maine-based photographer, Audra Bayette, farming and food fuel her creative spirit. Her inspiration flows from her farm into her photographs of Maine couples getting married.
She’s balancing work that fills her bank account with work that fills her soul.
Without work that fuels your creativity and feeds your spirit, you’re sprinting down a path to boredom and burnout. To explore the power of personal projects, The Photo Life is publishing a series of posts from photographers who pursue personal projects.
Summer in Maine means a busy wedding season. For me, it also means a busy farm season! My husband Matt and I live on two acres of land in Scarborough, ME. We live in a little farm house that used to be a gas station in the 1930’s with our miniature farm dog, who weighs in at just 8 pounds. Given how tiny everything is, I usually say we don’t have a farm, but a farmette!
I bought the house and property before I met Matt and always dreamed of growing my own food. When I was a kid, I pretended I was Laura Ingalls Wilder and it was up to me to build the house I lived in and grow the food I would eat! I saw this house as a way to become my own Laura Ingalls Wilder! When Matt and I were dating, we talked about this idea a lot and I was really happy (and lucky) when I found out he was just as interested as I was in raising our own food. Matt had been a vegetarian for 17 years but the idea of getting closer to his food was appealing to him. Did I mention I was lucky?
The first couple of years we were together, we focused on expanding our garden and before long it had more square footage than our whole house! Once we were married, we expanded the farmette to include pigs, chickens and turkeys. What we thought would be an interesting project became the hot topic of conversation when we got together with friends and family. People are so used to food coming from the grocery store that the idea of Matt and me growing and raising what we ate was novel. We welcomed these conversations, used them to solidify our plans, and allowed them to help us get the word out that growing veggies and having chickens for eggs is really not that hard – anyone can do it!
We have a menagerie of animals, a large vegetable garden, the start of an orchard, raspberry and blueberry bushes! And in between weddings shoots, we spend our summers planting, harvesting and preserving our bounty! Matt and I have a long-term (really long-term) plan of generating 70% of what we eat on our land. When we started, I thought we would hit that in the first year – boy was I wrong! Sometimes your crops – just like your photographs – don’t turn out the way you think.
We’ve found there really is a lot you can do with just two acres and the shared project has brought us closer. Plus, the farm has also brought me closer to my innate love of photography. Just like farming, photography requires patience to create something beautiful and sustainable. Those principles play out in my photography, just like they do on my farm. In fact, working on our farm has inspired many photographs and added dimension to my life both professionally and personally. My couples celebrate their weddings in Maine, so there’s an element of celebration in each photograph I make while tending our Maine farmette!
This winter when we feast on the spoils of our harvest nestled into our house we will be able to think back to the hard work of the summer eat well all winter long.
Audra Bayette is a Maine wedding photographer. A two time student of Roots Workshop Audra’s style is photojournalistic and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Having been the storyteller, tradition keeper, and picture taker in her family she knew long before she picked up a camera how important pictures were to a story, how they helped keep traditions and family connections alive. Audra shares that belief with her clients and strives to make emotion filled images that show not just how you looked on your wedding day but how you felt as well. Audra lives in Scarborough, ME with her husband Matt, their dog Minion and continues to tell her families story each and every day. ouse we will be able to think back to the hard work of the summer eat well all winter long.