By Coco McCracken
“I love the surprise of re-discovering memories on film.”
Sometimes, it feels as if the moment we step into summer, we’re already contemplating its end. At least in Maine, that sentiment might have a little truth to it, as our latitude offers such a small window for ocean dips and after dinner walks in the golden hour.
Thankfully, Maine photographer Julien E. Coyne makes a practice of seizing the fleeting New England summer on film, using a variety of vintage cameras – including a Polaroid SX-70 and their personal favorite, a medium format Yashica A. Their style celebrates the sepia, ochre, and russet tones the summer season uses to paint each Maine pine tree, each rain-dusted lake. Their lens is careful, but carefree – many of their images seem to still be alive with movement. Coyne captures simple moments that might otherwise go unnoticed, like little art vignettes to keep close long after the frost returns.
Coyne grew up in Orono with a Korean mother and an Irish-American father, and says they felt mostly accepted growing up. “I feel like the answer that society is looking for is: my life in [rural Maine] was hard, and I felt like I had to hide my identity or people made fun of me. But really, that just didn’t happen.”
If anything, their struggles came from having to choose a career path. They went into math and the sciences first, eventually studying physics and philosophy at Oxford University in England. But then they started to question their foray into such a competitive and demanding degree. A self-professed art-lover and doodler since childhood, Coyne wondered if they could be both an artist and a mathematician.
“Am I a math person or an art person? I feel like I can’t be an art person because I’ve chosen to be a math and science person. Not that it’s stopped me from doing art, but maybe that rhetoric has stopped me from pursuing a serious art education,” they said.
Not anymore, however. By day, Coyne is a software developer at Idexx. The rest of the time, they are a practicing ceramicist, animator, painter, and photographer. Most recently, they have expanded their offerings and are doing wedding photography, capturing ceremonies with the same distinct style that celebrates changing light, delicate movements, and fleeting moments. As Mainers at the end of our summer season, we know all too well the importance of seizing those.
You can follow Coyne on Instagram @ejulienphotography. For more of their work, see www.ejulienphotography.com/.