Richard Schultz left his Rhode Island home last August, carrying a map of Maine dotted with “spots I thought had potential.” His assignment: Roam the coast of Maine; capture the sights, the people, the moments. “This is my favorite thing to do,” he says. “I’m given a broad guideline, and then I interpret how my eye sees it without a detailed agenda. It’s a treat to take whatever catches my eye.”
The eye of Richard Schultz has been seen in national magazines for years, including Rolling Stone, Time, and National Geographic, and, during much of the 1990s, many of Yankee’s most memorable photos carried his name. About a decade ago, he took his vision to the world of commercial photography. “We’d have 50 to 75 people or more at a time on a set,” he says. “Everything had to be perfectly controlled.” Our asking him to just take off brought him back to his roots.
Schultz grew up by the sea, in Marblehead, Massachusetts. His cousin, Bill Eppridge, one of America’s most famous photojournalists (he shot the iconic photo of a busboy cradling Robert Kennedy’s head as he lay dying), took the teenaged Richard across the country on photo shoots. “It seemed an amazing career,” Schultz says. “People paying you to travel around the world–what more could you ask for?”
After studying photojournalism at Indiana University, Schultz apprenticed with Louie Psihoyos (director of The Cove, winner of this year’s Academy Award for best documentary). His life course was set.
“I use him as someone whom I totally look up to,” Schultz says. “Like when people say, ‘What would Jesus do?’ For me, it’s ‘What would Louie do?’ He’s the total consummate photographer. We were always on the road shooting. I gained insight into how you had to mentally prepare.”
When Richard Schultz came home from his Maine journey, he had traveled from Kittery to Mount Desert Island. (“The coast of Acadia,” he says, “deserves a whole separate trip. I want to go back.”) He brought with him more than 9,000 frames. “I find it totally freeing to shoot a lot,” he says. “I’m driven by light. It’s the light that makes images beautiful. And I love the juxtaposition I find in Maine. In the morning I can be with a lobsterman and then later out shooting a Rockefeller.” He found families picking blueberries on the Kennebunk Plains and fishermen bringing their catch into harbors; children playing and teenagers working; classic cottages and seaside hotels that time has passed by. Mostly he found summer playing out in the lives of people who for a moment or two allowed a stranger with a camera to hold them still.
MORE SUMMER ON THE MAINE COAST
Maine Coast in Summer | Photographs