Three lighthouses. Three photos. Three gorgeous moments in time.

Tue, 07/04/2023 - 11:15am

Author and photographer Bob Trapani’s latest coffee table lighthouse book, Gleams and Whispers: Maine’s Lighthouses and Their Allure, examines some of Maine’s 66 lighthouses from angles and perspectives rarely seen.

Trapani sees lighthouses not merely as useful structures, but as watchers, sentinels, and keepers of human life.

“It all starts with light,” he said. “They represent the finest of the human spirit in that they were built to save lives by preventing shipwrecks in the dark, stormy weather, and fog.”

As the Executive Director of the American Lighthouse Foundation, he is able to access some lighthouses, getting into places the general public doesn’t usually have permission to see. In addition, he has cultivated long-time connections with members of the lighthouse community and for the last 25 years, has worked as a volunteer lighthouse technician for the Coast Guard Auxillary. For the book, Trapani climbed through rockweed-covered ledges, stood outside in sub-zero winter temperatures at dawn, trudged through waist-high snow, waded through the ocean, and laid down in brine pools to get his shots.

“I view lighthouses from all different aspects, from a preservation side, an aid to navigation side, and from the general public’s view of them as well,” he said. “I have a deep appreciation of the history of each one, so I like to pull subtle components from all of these various angles into one photograph.”

Here are three photographs in which Trapani explains what it took to get the shot. “I try to tell the story of each lighthouse through unique angles.”

 Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Bristol (p. 143)

“I often spend time looking up down, and around, and not even look at the lighthouse because I’m looking for an aspect that people haven’t seen before,” he said. “I was down on the north end on the rocks and found a puddle. People probably thought I was crazy, lying down flat on the rocks with my camera inches above the tide pool. This image through the puddle is reflected through time. That lighthouse looks the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

Lubec Channel Lighthouse, Lubec (p. 55)

“I’m standing on the gallery looking down at the water,” he said. “The sun was coming up over Campobello island and to me, I saw the lighthouse’s history in the shadow of the shot. There’s so much to a lighthouse that is a mystery and we’re never going to learn about all of it. You can visit these places over and over and you may not ever see this perspective of the lighthouse ever again.”

Marshall Point Lighthouse, Port Clyde (p. 131)

“To me, this spoke to the idea of renewal—vitality was returning to the coast of Maine and beauty was blossoming. The Marshall Point lighthouse is just one of those places you have to see in person in the spring in the splendor of the flowers and the greenery. By the way, the one tulip that’s broken—I did not do that, but I did use it!”

For more information about Gleams and Whispers: Maine’s Lighthouses and Their Allure, visit