Petit Manan Light, Handcarved by Leon Massey
'Our 4 Generations' PPA Loan Collection Image 2004 'The Lighthouse'
I first met Leon Massey and his lovely wife, Jeanette over 10 years ago at a session I photographed of them and their three great grandsons; son’s of longtime clients, Elaine & Richard Testa. I was amazed by this couple who were then in their late 80's and so vibrant, energetic and young-at-heart. Several years later, Elaine scheduled an extended family portrait session which included Leon & Jeanette; now 90 and 91 years young and still going strong! The extended family portrait session was photographed in front of the home of Elaine's parents, Adrienne & Paul Lebrun. I later entered the extended family portrait in print competition and titled it: 'Our 4 Generations'. It received first place awards at the state, region and national competition's. It also received the prestigious Loan Collection award, my first Loan Collection for a 'family' portrait image. In addition to appearing in the 2004 Loan Collection book, PPA selected it as a featured folio image for the PPA Photographer magazine. Five years later, Elaine scheduled a follow-up session to update the extended family portrait as the family had grown with the addition of two great grandchildren. Now 95 and 96 years young, Mr. & Mrs. Massey continued to enjoy good health and looked as amazing as ever. What a JOY it was to have the opportunity to photograph them again. It was during this session I learned about Mr. Massey's hobby and passion for wood carving and asked if he would permit me to photograph him someday in his workshop. His response was; 'sure, but let me clean it up first'. I pleaded with him to leave everything exactly as it was and thankfully, he did. 'The Lighthouse' also received first place merits at state, region and national competitions and was our studio's Christmas card that year. Fast forward to several weeks ago when I was contacted by Mr. Massey's daughter, Adrienne who informed me her Dad had something to give me. We scheduled an appointment to meet the following week at Mr. & Mrs. Massey’s home where he presented me with a model lighthouse that he had hand carved just for me. This incredible GIFT is a model replica of Petit Manan Light, circa 1870 and located 5 miles off the coast of Corea, Maine. He also provided me with a folder containing the detailed history of the lighthouse. The model is a mirror image of the original with hand carved glass windows, entryway, even a staircase leading to the lantern room. Complete with a blinking light, the detailed craftsmanship has to be seen to truly be appreciated. Petit Manan now has a permanent home in our studio's image presentation room and I’ve ordered a new studio sample of 'The Lighthouse' image to display alongside it. There is no greater gift than one that is personally handmade for you and I will forever cherish this masterpiece. My next goal is to take a trip to Maine this summer and photograph the original lighthouse. Unfortunately, it sits 5 miles of the Maine coast which means a boat ride out to view it. Not my favorite idea of fun, but I have made it one of my future goals and look forward to sharing the present day photographs of Petit Manan Light with Mr. Massey.