It all started at the Ice and Smelt Festival…



It all started about a year ago at the Ice and Smelt Festival. For those of you who don’t  know, smelt are a kind of fish and smelt fishing is a cherished winter tradition in many Maine communities. Our town has been celebrating ice and smelting for a number of years now with a festival. For last year’s event, there’d been a “call” put out for any photos relating to smelting or winter in our small town.

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I sent a couple of photos in and on the day of the festival, Kurt and I wandered into town to check out the exhibit. I was anxious to see if my pictures were included. Would they be “favorites”?

Once we arrived, my eyes went straight to the display of photographs. I scanned them quickly. Yes! There was one of my photos…and there was the other one! Both were on display. (upper left in the photos below) They had even been enlarged.

“Oh, Kurt! They’re here!” I enthused, grinning from ear to ear. I was absolutely thrilled to see them on the wall with my name below them. Tickled pink as my  mom would have said.



We lingered, admiring the photos, examining the historical information and enjoying the exhibit. I may have peeked one or two more times at my photos. As I wandered, I noticed a few fabulous pictures. After a bit, I realized that most of them had been taken by the same photographer.

“Oh, I love this one!” I said to Kurt, motioning for him to check out a stunning picture of our local landmark bridge. “This BB takes wonderful pictures! I wonder who he is.”

After a while, a man came into the gallery and introduced himself. It turned out that he was BB, the photographer of those fabulous photos I’d been admiring and also the curator of the exhibit. When I introduced myself to him, he said something along the lines of, “Oh, you’re Molly Hogan. I really liked your pictures. You should think about having your photos in a show down here. I’ve been looking to make more use of the gallery space.”


We talked for a little longer and at the end of our conversation, he suggested I contact him via Facebook. Kurt and I left to meander over to check out the smelting shacks.

I walked out the door in a bit of a daze, excited and wondering. Did he really mean it? I then preceded to pester poor Kurt with questions for a while. A long while. It might have gotten a bit repetitive, but believe me, it was exponentially more so in my own head.

“Do you think he meant it?”

“Should I contact him on Facebook?”

“What do you think?”

“But do you think he really meant it?”

I went back and forth for a week or so. Maybe two. Contact him? Yes. No. Maybe. Back and forth. Forth and back.

But one of the joys of getting older is that it nudges me to push barriers. It may take a while, but ultimately, it does. I love taking pictures. I love sharing my photographs. If someone offered me an opportunity like this, why wouldn’t I contact them? What did I have to lose? Bottom line…if not now, when?

So, after a bit, I reached out via Facebook. I sent him a link to a recent blog post that shared my favorite photos of 2017.

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A few weeks later, I followed up. And, via a long circuitous route, it has actually worked out. I’m so excited (in between waves of anxious nausea) to share that on February 1st, an exhibit of my photographs will open at our local gallery. MOLLYCARD_WEB_SIZE.jpg

And it all started at the Ice and Smelt Festival…

17 thoughts on “It all started at the Ice and Smelt Festival…

  1. Mukhamani says:

    That is really fantastic. All the best. Thank you for sharing about the festival.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    Congratulations! I love this story. I am reading a self-help book that says you have to change your thinking to reach your goals. Think it and it will happen for you. I wish I could go to the exhibit. Take pictures. Are you selling your photographs? Next up a book of poems and photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Margaret. It’s been such a process. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about how much support I have around me. No matter what happens with the exhibit, it’s been a tremendous experience. And yes, the pictures will be for sale. It’s all a bit nerve-wracking–in the best possible way!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lindabaie says:

    I know that your photos are fabulous, Molly, am so happy for you. Just on a small whim of sending in your ‘smelt shack’ pics, this happened! Congratulations! Wish I could visit your gallery!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What good news! Hannah read the fine print far better than I did to learn that your photos will be displayed for two months! BB sees talent, persistence, and subtlety!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dmsherriff says:

    This is THE BEST feel good slice! Congratulations, Molly! I’ve admired your photographs via your blog many times! You have an eye for all things Maine – the stories your pictures tell are brought to life with your words! I love the line “one of the joys of getting older is that it nudges me to push barriers”. These words are so true, with every year I learn what matters most and say those words you did, “what do I have to lose”. Yay, YOU! Congratulations, again and thanks for sharing your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. terierrol says:

    Congratulations! You are an inspiration. I love how you describe your ambivalence. Hope you keep on writing too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mgminer says:

    This is so exciting and it’s on my birthday! I loved the line you wrote about being at an age where you want to push barriers. Your photos are exquisite. Best of luck!
    PS (How do you pronounce Bowdoinham?) I had my first trip to Maine last June and fell in love with it. I bet you hear that a LOT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m so glad you had a chance to visit Maine and fell in love. Where did you go? I feel so fortunate to live here–and I’m still saying that after it was 1˚F yesterday morning (not counting wind chill!).

      PS–Bowdoinham is pronounced Bo-din-ham (like Bowdoin college if you know it).


  8. Amy says:

    What a fabulous backstory! Thank you for capturing it so beautifully! Having just gotten back from seeing said photos in the gallery, I’m sparked with inspiration. They are stunning! I’m grateful to have the opportunity to purchase one to display in my studio for inspiration. Congratulations on this new audience for your lovely work☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Amy, thank you so much! One of the best moments of last night was you buying that photo and telling me that you were going to put it in your studio for inspiration. Wow! We should definitely get together and talk photos/writing! You’ll have to tell me again how to check out what you’re doing–much of last evening is a blur and I can’t remember those details. lol Thanks again!!


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