The Ark-Spending Time in North Hero, Vermont: by Monica Jane Frisell

Pearl House Farm Pearl House Farm on Grand Isle, VT | ©Monica Jane Frisell

Yet again, time seems to whiz by, I wonder if this is a sign of my age, or just how things go when we are learning, experiencing, traveling, and working? We left for the East Coast from Spokane, WA, downsizing even more, and headed to North Hero, a small island in Vermont (yes there are islands in Vermont). This was our first experience documenting and working with one community. North Hero is in the Champlain Islands and is like no other part of Vermont. We were invited by Carole d’Inverno and Diane Gayer, who runs a local art space called GreenTARA Space, to come to the area and document some of its histories. We ended up staying the full month of September and were able to gather some incredible interviews and photographs. Our month ended with a small pop-up exhibition at GreenTARA Space, showcasing a collection of 8×10 silver prints created in the Ark, a small vignette video, and some of the edited audio interviews.

Next, we head to Rochester, NY and will be working with the SUNY Monroe Community College for a week to create a similar series. Then we look forward to finding other places that will have us, hopefully farther South where we won’t be so bitten by cold weather – I mean, we are still living outside in a truck after all…

A vignette featuring audio clips from interviews, video from around the island and stills. Audio edited by Adam Scher. Video and stills edited by Monica Jane Frisell

Portrait of Tom and Fritz on their property in North Hero, VT
Tom and Fritz share some stories about coming to the islands every summer since they were children.

  • Pearl House Farm

Mary Catherine and her daughter in front of their house on Isle La Motte, VT
Mary Catherine talking about her experience living on the islands as well as living with a disability.

Saxon on their horse Peazie on Pearl House Farm, Grand Isle, VT
Saxon speaking about learning how they learned to love working with horses and how the islands have helped them heal.

Monica, Adam, and Lucy in front of The Ark | ©Monica Jane Frisell

Monica Jane Frisell and Adam Scher create work on the road in a retrofitted trailer that Frisell built in early 2021. This trailer is equipped with a full black and white photographic wet darkroom, film processing space, and digital docking station and is now lovingly called The Ark. 
The Ark is fully self-contained and works off the grid. Frisell uses predominantly analog materials, shooting on an 8×10 Kodak Master field camera processing the film and prints within the Ark. Scher collects audio of spaces and people photographed, editing interviews into small vignette stories. Together they are creating an evolving and living document of our country today in their ongoing project “Portrait of US”.
To help this project grow and continue, they have a Patreon Page where folks can support them, they also have zines and prints available for sale on their store. To follow along on their social media you can follow @nomadicphotoark