This is a new blog written by that Peter Miller who is a photographer and who lives in Colbyville, Vermont. The blog is wedged into my new website, www.petermillervermont.com. These are my websites:
Petermillerphotography.com displays my black and white photography and images from the books I have written.
Petermillerimages.com is my archive of photographs taken over the last 50 years in France, New York, Vermont, the Great Plains, and some lesser-known spots. This is where you find my color stock images, my black and white from my books and much more.
Petermillervermont.com is where I sell my books, posters, note cards and prints. Here you will find works in progress, articles, essays, commentary, satire plus what’s hanging at my photo gallery/ studio.
These new sites are just being completed. Not much is in them but that won’t be for long. You can expect new content being added daily.
Enough of that. I live in Colbyville, Vermont in a 210 year old converted farmhouse located next to Route 100. Ten miles up the road is Stowe. Across the street is King Kong Ken’s new Hong Kong restaurant, which used to be Caforia’s country store and before that Kilkenny’s Market and before that Bissette’s market. My neighbor to the north is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream plant. I can spit on their property from my deck, but instead I throw the dead mice my recently deceased cat caught. Crossroad passes my house and goes up to Blush Hill and dead ends at the Waterbury Reservoir. I have lived here, with time out for residency in France and Manhattan, for 42 years. I recently wrote a book titled Nothing Hardly Ever Happens in Colbyville, Vermont. It includes a series of essays and articles I have written in my home. The title is taken from a story within the book that ends with a pig, a sheep, a telephone call…and this photograph.
I live upstairs. My companion was Fight and Bite, an alley cat from Manhattan that I just wrote a story about in the spring edition of Vermont Magazine.
Fight and Bite disappeared 10 days ago and I don’t think I will see my calico again. I think a fisher cat, or a fox did him in. Makes me very sad. You’ll read more about this in my website.
Downstairs is a wet darkroom (I’m old fashioned, you think?), a production room, a computer room with two blazing fast tower Macs, and three scanners, five printers, and more gadgets than I know how to use (I am not that old fashioned). Then there is my five-room photo gallery. Recently I hung a show on the photographs I created in Paris, France, which appeared in my book The First Time I Saw Paris, and a series on a vendange (grape harvest) in Margaux, France. I made these photographs between 1956 and 1958, when I was a Signal Corps photographer stationed in Paris.
I know Vermont . . . know it real well. Not from the academic viewpoint, mind you, nor from the quick snapshots of a tourist, or from the newly engaged flatlander. No, I know it as a photographer and writer, who for half a century has driven the back roads, jawed in country stores, observed at all the fairs, interviewed farmers, loggers, gardeners, builders, hunters and trappers, skiers, store owners, town clerks and so many other Vermonters who work for themselves.
Most of all, I listened, observed, photographed. And wrote. Vermont People, Vermont Farm Women, Vermont Gathering Plaes, Nothing Hardly Ever Happens in Colbyville, Vermont. My writing is factual reportage, some is satirical. Opinionated? Sometimes. And funny too.
What I will share with you is a critcal, well honed eye, a sense of brutal honesty and yes, a taint of the curmudgeon. I am a journalist, self employed, not tied to any club, I have no position on any town or state board or commission. No one would ever elect me to their board of directors. I like to believe my mind and eye cannot be compromised. I cherish beauty, simplicity and common sense, which I don’t have enough of.
Vermont is so saddled with taxes that the “Small People” can hardly afford to live here. Who are these people? The phrase gained notoriety when BP Board Chairman Carl-Henrik Svanberg, after a meeting with President Obama over the disastrous oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, said in a sound bite interview “We care about the small people”.
Oh did he get heat! Svanberg is Swedish, English is his second language, and perhaps he meant “the little people”. The semantics are just as wretched but we know what he means. I am one of the small people and Vermont has thrived on the industry of small people. We are independent minded, we prefer to work for ourselves or set up small companies, we cherish freedom, we are instilled with the beauty that surrounds us, we burn a lot of wood, we hunt, fish, ski, kayak, go to church suppers (some of us) and generally hold in skepticism of all town, state and federal officials. We are frugal and not greedy.
You could say there are not many differences between us Vermonters and a Louisiana shrimper. We do not have pensions, we often have no health insurance, we do not have paid vacations, summers off, lobbyists sucking up to politicians for us, we are bled by fuel oil costs to heat our old frame houses and property taxes that the town and state say are necessary to build multi-million dollar fire stations, support inefficient schools, and new playing fields (I know a farmer in New Zealand who laid out a nine hole golf course and had his sheep mow it—a low cost and ecologically approach with great benefits to all except when cleaning golf shoes.
Well, you get the drift. We’ll talk about food, gas and propane prices. We’ll discuss the erosion of our rural beauty. We’ll go into why Vermonters cannot afford to ski on state land because of the high cost of lift tickets. We’ll take a good look at the Secession Movement in Vermont and why I think it’s worth a gamble—with a lot of practical thought.
You’ll be able to see and read my works in progress and what is on display in my gallery.
And I’m thinking we should have a tax revolt and an ice cream tasting event, pitting Ben and Jerry’s against Häagen-Dazs and some local ice cream makers. You’ll read about it here.
We plan to have fun putting all this together.