Pathmakers - Alex




"No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”  ~Ansel Adams


This is Alex.  She was one of the first National Park Service trail crew staff I met on the ground in Acadia National Park.  After hellos, our conversation quickly turned to photography.  She was aware of vintage camera gear and was excited about the opportunity to make a photograph with me.  This one turned out great, huh?  I really love it!

Spending time with Alex, one quickly realizes that she is smart, determined, and engaged in and driven by her work.  Her dedicated spirit is expansive, and she proved to be excited to share and educate me, and surely all others who cross her path, on the importance the foot trail system plays in the park.  Alex was also well-versed in the technical aspects of trail building.  She near always had a tool in hand, ready-on-the-go, and was deeply involved in crew conversations related to their work detail and approach.  I watched her push and pull rock bar using her all, swinging sledge and leveraging rock with pulley and wire rope.  No doubt, Alex is a bundle of purposeful intensity, but she also was easy with a smile and close with her colleagues.  Shared chuckles, and friendly ribbing, Alex and the crew’s connection was highlighted on down time as they huddled on tarps eating lunch.  It was a privilege to experience this wholesome group effort, which Alex was part of.

We traded emails after I finished the field portion of my residency.  Alex was anxious to see the imagery we created together, and wanted to use the photograph to help respond to questions others had concerning her motivation, ability and adeptness, and role on the trail crew.  She said, “I want people to know that there are women out there working hard, and often times, working harder than most.  I want this photograph to express the resilience and dedication of strong working women.”  To my mind, she’s more than succeeds on all fronts.  And the photo is fantastic too.  Thank you, Alex, for being inspirational, and for being that resolute force that is you.        


Once more, a reminder that 2016 marks the 100 year anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service.  Find your park, and get out and enjoy!


Linhof Technika large format field camera + Schneider-Kreuznach 150mm f/5.6 lens + Kodak Professional Tri-X 320 black and white film


~Dan Grenier

2015 Artist in Residence

Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park