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Ben McCanna has been a staff photographer (and occasional writer) at the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2015 and has been working for newspapers since 2010. Ben studied creative writing and literature at Emerson College and embarked on a decade-long career in publishing after graduating in 1997. In his mid 30s, Ben shifted careers by taking a job as a reporter at a small newspaper in northwest Colorado and never looked back. Over the years, he slowly transitioned from writer to photographer - his true passion. Ben is a 2018 winner of an Award of Excellence from Pictures of the Year International. He lives on Peaks Island with his wife, a nurse practitioner, and two sons.

Latest
  • Published
    March 15, 2021

    In photos: Let there be light

    Daylight saving time started again on Sunday, leading to dreams of those long summer nights in Maine, when the sun doesn’t set until after 8 p.m. There’s a bipartisan bill in Congress now, called the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, sponsored by politicians as different as U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., that would make DST permanent. If it passes, we would not switch our clocks back in the fall. Meanwhile, Press Herald photographers took advantage of our lengthening days to look for beautiful light.

  • Published
    February 22, 2021

    In photos: A winter wonderland just outside your door

    It’s February, it’s cold, we’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic (as if you could forget) and that spells cabin fever. So here are some photos to remind you of the many ways that Maine is a perfect place to be living through this. It’s a winter wonderland just outside your door.

  • Published
    February 8, 2021

    In photos: Mittens and Mainers, what’s not to love?

    Warm woolen mittens are one of our favorite things, and they got special attention when Sen. Bernie Sanders wore them, sitting in a folding chair looking grumpy, at President Biden’s inauguration. Sanders’ mien and mittens, in the photo by photographer Brendan Smialowski, went viral, making the Twitter universe, and many others, happy for many cold winter days. The mittens were famously given to Sanders by Vermonter Jen Ellis, a former Mainer. Ellis learned to sew at Mahoney Middle School in South Portland, taught by home economics teacher Jeannette Collett. Here are a few Mainers with their mittens, including Collett, who is wearing her very own pair of Jen Ellis mittens.

  • Published
    December 27, 2020

    Press Herald’s 2020 Photos of the Year

    We will never forget 2020, a year of tumult and heartbreaking loss. The coronavirus pandemic shook the world, the Black Lives Matter movement focused our attention on systemic racism, and the U.S. president was impeached. Schools and businesses closed. People lost their livelihoods and their lives. Millions of people protested, and a record number of Americans voted. And as the year came to a merciful close, hope emerged.

    These narratives played out across the country and in the streets and homes of Maine. Our photojournalists told them in the images they made.

    This year, instead of choosing the ‘best’ photos of the year, we’re telling the story of the year in pictures. Wearing masks and staying socially distanced, the photojournalists of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram recorded this historic year with grace, poetry and courage.

  • Published
    December 21, 2020

    In photos: Lighting up the night

    The winter solstice, the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere, takes place at 5:02 a.m. Dec. 21. The long nights of a pandemic have been made beautiful, though, with holiday lights throughout our cities and towns. Many people put their displays up earlier than usual this year as a way to bring joy and help dispel the gloom of a difficult year. Press Herald photographers recorded some of the colorful beauty.

  • Published
    October 26, 2020

    Consider the lowly gull: A photo essay

    Gulls are often maligned as “rats of the sky,” but is that assessment warranted? Isn’t there beauty in their plaintive calls? Aren’t they as evocative of the coast as salt air, foghorns, bell buoys, lobster boats and lighthouses?
    Or are they simply too common, too messy and too pushy to deserve our admiration?
    Gulls, love them or hate them, are smart, fascinating, even beautiful, as our gallery shows. Just don’t call them seagulls. Birders will tell you there is no such animal.

  • Published
    September 21, 2020

    Apple-picking time, a fall tradition in Maine, has arrived

    An apple a day really can help keep the doctor away, and even during a pandemic, apple picking can be a healthy outdoor activity, with masks and precautions in place.

  • Published
    August 24, 2020

    Photo gallery: Heavy metal music and a midlife crisis

    With Portland’s music venues closed because of the pandemic, now seems like the right time to revisit what feels like a bygone era.

  • Published
    July 6, 2020

    During coronavirus, backyard birding takes flight in Maine

    Socially distanced telecommuters are discovering a new world just beyond their walls.

  • Published
    June 15, 2020

    Pandemic complicates life on Peaks Island for photographer, family

    Beginning in March, my wife and I were ships in the night – when she was working, I was home.

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