Note: This title has been postponed until March 2024.

Disappearing Before Our Eyes

Portraits and Stories of Grand Manan Island
Photographs and Text by

Peter Cunningham

Afterword by Alison Hawthorne Deming

Montauk on Long Island, then Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Mount Desert Island, then comes Grand Manan, the last in the chain of the large islands that run with the prevailing wind, ‘down east’ from New York to New England and then into the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy. They are islands with a common historic maritime culture.

Grand Manan held onto the old ways a little longer than its neighbours. Was it because the first settlers were Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, or that it’s the most distant from large urban centers, or because it’s across the Canadian border? The fact remains that visible remnants of traditional fishing culture have persisted longer than on its sister islands to the south. On Grand Manan, catch from the sea is still paying the bills, so public investment goes into wharves instead of tourist accommodations. This book bears witness to an ongoing struggle to maintain self-reliant island individualism in the context of a nearly ubiquitous global economy. Things are changing but the water is still cold, salty and wet.

About the Author

Peter Cunningham is a professional photographer who lives on the islands of Grand Manan and Manhattan. His teachers include Baptist fisherman Lester Tate, modern dancer Martha Myers, Wesleyan anthropologist David McAllester, French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, American Zen Master Bernie Glassman, and his curious father who spent a lifetime collecting fog (literally). Peter has exhibited his photographs and films in New York, Krakow, London, Paris, Tokyo, Beijing, and Berlin. His clients include singers, teachers, chefs, playwrights, athletes, accountants, actors, fishermen, and clowns. He teaches “Photography as Zen Practice” in the US and China and is co-author with Peter Matthiessen of Are We There Yet? A Zen Journey through Space and TIme. Peter first arrived on Grand Manan in the belly of his mother in 1946.

Discover more at Peter Cunningham's website.

About Alison Hawthorne Deming

Poet, essayist, and naturalist Alison Hawthorne Deming has spent summers on Grand Manan since childhood. She is the author of six books of poetry and five books of nonfiction, most recently A Woven World: On Fashion, Fishermen, and the Sardine Dress (Counterpoint Press) and Stairway to Heaven (Penguin Poets). Winner of Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford, and the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, she is Regents Professor Emerita at the University of Arizona. Her work has been widely published and anthologized including in Best American Science and Nature Writing and the Norton Book of Nature Writing. Deming lives in Tucson, Arizona and Grand Manan, New Brunswick

A Gallery of Photographs from the Book

A map of Grand Manan from 1939.

Paperback • 300 pages • $50 (CAD), $40 (USD) • ISBN 978-1-988299-51-8 • Published 2023/10/24