Tammy Packie is an award winning freelance photographer who operates her own studio while pursuing social documentary projects. Ms. Packie moved from a farm in central Maine to Bar Harbor in 1982, where she currently resides. Leaving a career in medicine, Packie began studying photography 12 years ago, graduating in 1989 from the Maine Photographic Workshops Associate degree Program from the University of Maine at Augusta.|
Packie has worked for various Maine Newspapers; currently she is staff photographer for The Maine Times. She won the Maine Press Association Award for Spot News while working for the Bar Harbor Times. Employed for five years as a staff photographer at The Jackson Laboratory, an internationally renowned genetics research center, Packie combined her experience in art and medicine to contribute to research and development projects. The Maine Arts Commission selected Packie for its Maine Artists Registry. Packie has earned recognition for her work in Maine and Latin America, and she has lectured and exhibited in Maine and Mexico. Her work has been published in newspapers, journals, and the Best of Photography 1994 from Serbin Communications Press.
An interest in social activism motivates Packie to volunteer her services to non-profit organizations, including the YMCA, Amigos de Sian Kaan, and the Christian Medical and Dental Society. Packie's childhood memories motivate her social documentary work; of particular interest are traditional means of livelihood that embody unique relationships between man and the environment. Since the early 1990's Packie has focused on fishing cultures. In 1994 she began documenting the Maine sardine industry, a maritime tradition currently undergoing rapid changes which threaten to destroy it and the rich cultural heritage it has fostered. In 1995 Packie photographed traditional methods of fishing on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Pursuing a broader education she returned to study marine biology and anthropology at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, graduating with a BA in Human Ecology in 1997.
Packie continues to photograph the sardine fishery. In 1998 a grant from the Maine Community Foundation enabled her to interview various people engaged in this fishery. Her objective is to produce a book that combines her black and white photographs with a narrative based on her own research as well as oral histories. Desiring to document this unique Maine tradition before it disappears forever, Packie is creating valuable historical photographs while at the same time providing a sensitive portrayal of the people who continue to ply a traditional means of livelihood on the coast of Maine.
Professional ExperienceFreelance Photographer: In 1995 I opened my own studio. Clients include individuals, newspapers, and non-profit organizations; all requiring a variety of photographic and darkroom services. In addition to commercial work, I pursue social documentary projects. My portfolio includes color and B/W essays from Maine and Latin America, another area of the world which fascinates me. It is another place where traditional means of livelihood are threatened as natural resources disappear in an onslaught of mechanization and development. My three largest portfolios show scenes of daily life in Ecuador, the indigenous culture of the Yucatan, and the sardine industry in Maine.
In July 1998 The Maine Community Foundation, under the auspices of The Maine Folklife Center, awarded me a grant of $4000 to complete the photography and interviews for The Last Days of Port Clyde Canning. Based on the closing of a sardine cannery in Rockland Maine, it is a social documentary of the sardine industry, summarizing the evolution of a maritime institution from a traditional means of livelihood in Maine to one that is now threatened with extinction, promoting severe reductions in opportunity for those who work in this industry. My documentation includes photography and text, comprised of narrative from my research, and oral histories gathered from participants in the fishery. I provide a record of people still engaged in a timeworm profession once taken for granted as a means of independence, to show how people pursuing traditional trades produce and ply their wares in today's society.
May 1994 to May 1995: Staff Photographer at The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine.
The Jackson Laboratory is an international genetics research center and mouse production facility, consisting of 30 research groups and more that 600 support staff. In the Audio-Visual Service, a two person department, I was responsible for most aspects of development, preparation, and presentation of AV materials used at the laboratory. I worked closely with the research staff giving technical advice, equipment used during seminar presentations, and providing video and photographic documentation of scientific procedures for training, safety and research purposes. I also maintained darkrooms, inventoried supplies, and scheduled assignments and maintenance of equipment. Photo assignments included formal and candid portraits, architectural studies, and animal photography. My photographs were used for internal publications and the annual report by the offices of public information and development.
Winter 1993: Freelance Photographer for the Christian Medical and Dental Society
In the winter of 1993 I took a leave of absence from the Jackson Laboratory to pursue a social documentary project. I went with a missionary group for two weeks to the rural central highlands of Ecuador. I served as a photographer, translator, medical assistant, and radiologic instructor. I then traveled for six weeks throughout the county working on a personal photographic essay based on my experiences.
May 1989 to May 1990: Staff Photographer for The Bar Harbor Times
The Bar Harbor Times is a weekly Class C newspaper with a circulation of approximately ten thousand. As staff photographer I was responsible for my own photography as well as providing custom darkroom services for the editorial and advertising departments. I worked with the production staff to ensure that photographs were ready for production deadlines. My duties also included editing, covering an occasional editorial assignment, and responding to unexpected photo opportunities. While at the Times I won the Maine Press Association Award for Best Spot news photograph for 1989.
May 1989 to September 1989: Staff Photographer Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory
My photography work at MDIBL consisted of formal and environmental portraits of the resident and visiting scientists, photographs at various functions to be used as press releases, and documentary photographs for the laboratory archives.