Maine Women's Fund honors photographer Samantha Appleton of Camden

Third annual Leadership Luncheon and award ceremony to recognize Appleton, artist Anne Taintor and others in Portland this week
Posted:  Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 1:30pm

PORTLAND — The Maine Women's Fund will honor photographer Samantha Appleton of Camden, artist Anne Taintor of Lewiston and others at its third annual Leadership Luncheon and award ceremony at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland on Thursday, May 23. As the Fund's annual fundraising event, the Leadership Luncheon brings together 600 prominent business, professional and community-minded people to network, discuss women's leadership and invest in economic security for Maine's women and girls. The event, emceed by Suzanne Nance of MPBN, will honor five Maine leaders who promote and inspire social change for women and girls. The luncheon will also feature success stories from Maine Women's Fund grantees: The Community Schools at Opportunity Farm and Camden, Women Unlimited, and Women Work and Community.

This year's award recipients include:

Samantha Appleton of Camden, who will receive the Sarah Orne Jewett award. The Sarah Orne Jewett award is given to a Maine woman who exhibits the attributes of the women in Jewett's works of fiction: true grit, independence, courage, humor and discipline. Sarah Orne Jewett was noted for her works of fiction that highlighted the extraordinary in the ordinary, exalting small details that illustrated a common humanity. A photographer concentrating on historic trends, Appleton was most recently an Official White House Photographer for the Obama administration. The bulk of her career has covered some of of the most tumultuous, man-made events of the past decade. She has won numerous awards including Pictures of the Year, World Press Master Class, American Photography and Camera Arts. In addition to her photography, Appleton is currently writing a nonfiction book about the war in Iraq.

Lewiston native and artist Anne Taintor, who will receive the Tribute to Women in Industry Award (TWIN), The TWIN award recognizes a woman who is a leader in her field and has achieved significant accomplishments as a business owner, business executive or nonprofit organizational leader. Taintor graduated from Harvard in 1977 with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies. In the early 1980s, when she was rifling through some vintage women's magazines and found herself wondering what the perfect-seeming women shown on page after page were really thinking. Could that beautifully coiffed, pert housewife be as content—and vacuous—as she seemed? Taintor doubted it. She began to imagine their true inner thoughts (i.e. "I'm so happy it's happy hour"). Soon she was pasting text onto images to create jewelry, magnets, and other products, which she began to sell. This was the beginning of Anne Taintor, Inc. The quirky, deadpan captions combined with familiar vintage images struck an immediate chord with the women who saw them.

Waterville natives Julia Bluhm, Maya Brown, and Izzy Labbe, members of the Girls Advisory Board of Hardy Girls Healthy Women, who will receive this year's Samantha Smith Award. The award recognizes a young woman or women from Maine who work to promote social change in their school or community, inspire other girls to become active in supporting long lasting change in Maine, use their voice boldly to influence others, and make a difference in their community. Through their work with Hardy Girls Healthy Women, Bluhm, Brown, and Labbe engage in activism both online and on the ground. When Julia wrote a petition asking Seventeen magazine to include one non-Photoshopped spread in each issue, Izzy followed up with a video of her school classmates critiquing the magazine's beauty ideals, and Izzy and Maya blogged about the petition to raise awareness about the campaign. Seventeen responded with a Body Peace Treaty in the August 2012 issue in which the magazine committed to "celebrate every kind of beauty," and pledged to never digitally alter girls' faces and bodies.

The Maine Women's Fund is a public foundation dedicated to transforming the lives of Maine women and girls through strategic grantmaking, community engagement, and support to nonprofit organizations dedicated to social change. Since 1989, the Fund has granted almost $1.7 million to organizations across the state. For more information, visit