September Update, old and new projects.
Below is an update on what has happened with my latest book, A Lifetime of Vermont People and further down the column are links to my new book projects. There were many reviews and articles but the closest to my heart were the personal messages from people who were moved by the profiles and photographs of the Vermonters that live on the pages of this book. Our US Senator Patrick Leahy was one. A photographer himself, he made a speech about me and the book and read it on the Senate Floor. Yeah, I know, it was posted before but maybe you missed it and if you didn’t skip down to the new projects links going back over half a century.
TRIBUTE TO PETER MILLER — (Senate – November 20, 2013)
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, for generations, Vermonters have contributed to our national culture, through art, music, film and prose. Peter Miller is one such artist whose impressive work throughout his life as both a photographer and author has showcased Vermont and its residents and enriching us all.
As an amateur photographer, I have followed Peter’s work for decades with admiration. From his early beginnings as a U.S. Army photographer to his travels across Europe with Yousuf Karsh, he has channeled his passion and energy into a remarkable art. Over the past 20 years, his unique ability to capture the Vermont spirit has been well documented and his consistent approach to producing authentic depictions of the Vermont way of life is unparalleled. He shuns the commercialization of art and instead creates his work solely to share and promote the values of our small and community-based State. This attitude was evident more than ever when, being honored as the Burlington Free Press “Vermonter of the Year” in 2006 for his book “Vermont Gathering Places,” he frankly said “I don’t shoot for galleries. I shoot for myself and the people I photograph.”
His appreciation and respect for the traditional culture that defines Vermont is readily evident in his work. He has photographed farm-dotted landscapes, village communities, and generations of Vermont families. When writing the forward to his 2003 book “Vermont People,” I noted that “the Vermont faces in this book speak worlds about living in the State that gave them character, wrinkles and wisdom ….. through their faces, you can see Vermont.”
Peter’s most recent work, “A Lifetime of Vermont People,” is another testament to his tenacity and tact as a Vermonter. A product of over a year’s worth of photography, fundraising, and self-publishing, this book is truly a labor of love. His addition of background stories helps provide greater insight and meaning to the photographs included and through his photography and the recent addition of writing to his repertoire, he gives a face, and a voice, to Vermonters.
Peter lives the lifestyle he captures in his photography. A Vermonter for over five decades, he has embraced the way of life that makes the State so special. Like his black and white photographs that draw focus squarely on the subject of the piece, rather than relying on flashy colors to convey a message, he is not interested in glitz and glam. His books have themes that exemplify Vermont: farm women, gathering places, small communities. He laments the waning of iconic farms, the erosion of small town values, and the fading of the once impermeable Vermont way of life. His resiliency is remarkable and his uncanny ability to display the beauty of Vermont in a way words cannot do justice serves as an inspiration for photographers everywhere.
But hey, A Lifetime is a good book. It won three gold awards, two for being the best Art/Photography book from New England and one for being the best non-fiction book from the northeast (this was an “IPPY” award from Independent Publishers).
Lately life has been a drag. Vermont is way too expensive in taxes and energy costs for many independent, self employed Vermonters like myself. A bunch of us are forced to sell our homes, downsize or leave the state. I know I am spending money on last year’s fuel oil that I saved to reprint Lifetime. This old house, the high cost of living in Vermont, and a most cruel winter has done some of us in.TS Eliot is wrong. January is the cruelest month and it bled right through April!
Yeah, and then there is my old frostbite that savaged four toes in the last century. That is finally catching up with me but that’s another story and I’ll get to that later with gruesome photos!
But hey, that’s just living. I’m an artist, I’m called, but I don’t know what an artist is. I’m a photographer and writer and author and what I live for is to communicate and make books that people learn from, or lose themselves, or have their pupils dilate looking at some photos. And I work in black and white photography. Why? Because it shows the nitty-gritty. So hey, I’m a little depressed about hobbling around my house and being broke so what do I do? Get two books designed.
Carrie Cook designed the mock ups. I ‘m paying her in wine (Pinot Noir) until these books are on your coffee table. But for now……follow these links for a look see and tell me, how in hell am I going to finance these books when costly Vermont empty-sucks your pockets?
Ahh, doing books, looking at beauty…I love it. I must have Navajo blood in me. Ever read their psalm, Walking in Beauty? That’s my credo. So, for the Paris book, follow this link:
And for the wine harvest in Margaux 57 years ago check out:
I of course have more photos to add to these books, and text too. But tell me, what you think?
What should I do? Kickstarter again? Find an agent which is difficult? Do a limited edition? Set up a wine photo exhibition at wine auctions or in China, or maybe find an international publisher? Search for an angel?
Back to A Lifetime of Vermont People. Chances are I will run out of books before Christmas. I have now 240 copies left from the first printing and 70 of the limited edition. Better think of Christmas or alert your friends. It may not be published again. You may view and order the book through http://www.silverprintpress.com.
Thanks you all, Peter
(I made Ratatouille today, way too runny. Turned it into spaghetti sauce. As I said on Twitter recently, the cukes, tomatoes, zucchini and apples I grew this year have thick skins. You know what that means? Another harsh and mean couple of months coming up but I hope I am wrong and the thick skins is due to good compost.
Given the current interest in wine amongst all generations, I think your book about the Margaux harvest would sell, Have you thought of approaching Chateau Margaux about the book…a possible joint venture?
I bought Lifetime of Vermont People then I tried purchasing some of your other books on the Silver Press website but I kept getting a popup saying:
Peter Miller is currently unable to accept orders. Please report this issue to the seller.
Are the books still available for purchase?
Best of luck with the new books and upcoming VT winter. My husband works at Copley Hospital in Morrisville and we own property in Walden. If we can ever sell our house in CT, we’ll be building a new home there. We’ve been visiting that area for the past 30 years. Sad to see what’s happened to the traditional VT lifestyle, but its still much better than CT.