When Don Moore and his wife, Suzanne, moved to Port Clyde in 1972 it was a life-changing—and more importantly, he says, a life-saving—experience. For the previous 20 years he had been in the thick of the fast-paced world of live television news and documentary film-making, starting as a cameraman for NBC and then joining CBS, where he eventually was promoted to the position of producer/director. The turbulent 1960s, with urban protests abounding, was an exciting time to be producing live television news, but the work was not only often extremely dangerous, but also highly stressful—so much so that it was seriously affecting Moore’s health. Port Clyde, where the couple had been spending vacation time, offered respite.
“It took about a year of living in Port Clyde to get all my systems restored after being a television director doing news and documentaries and working in the difficult cities of the time,” Moore recalls. “As Suz would often say, ‘Sometimes when you go to work I don’t know if you’ll be coming home.’ But after about nine months of living here I could think about doing something more than recuperate.”
Moore started his own production company called Composite Productions, Inc., and soon had a contract working for another production company hired to redo the military’s training films. “They were looking for television directors and had heard of my work with CBS,” Moore says. “So they hired me and some other guys. And that project was successful and paid the bills for a long time.”
Following that contract Moore made films for the U.S. Navy for use in anti-submarine warfare. Eventually he became involved in directing and photographing many television projects for Discovery, ESPN, National Geographic and The Outdoor Life Network. Finally, in retirement, he began traveling all over the world taking photographs for Wild Fibers Magazine (published by Maine-based Linda Cortright). That work meshed well with Moore’s increasing desire to focus on still photography, something with which he first began experimenting as a youngster.
Moore’s love of this part of Maine and particularly of Port Clyde—he and Suz live on Horse Point Road overlooking the harbor—is evident in the hundreds of photos he has taken of the town and the rest of St. George. “We love the water and the boats—and boats are beautiful things,” he says, gesturing to the view outside their sitting room window. “Someone said they’re like women—they’re all different shapes and sizes, but they’re all beautiful in their own way.”
Moore believes that being a photographer has led him to be especially aware of his surroundings. “I’m always looking,” he says. “In photography we see things other people don’t see. Even though I’m not shooting pictures all the time, I’m seeing pictures. From a photography point of view, every single day this place offers something different, because the light changes, the tide changes.”
Moore and his wife now divide their time between Hilton Head, S.C., and Port Clyde. Hilton Head, he says, is also a satisfying environment for a photographer, but in a different way from Port Clyde. “There I find myself fascinated by all the birds,” he says.
People ask Moore which place he prefers and, although he enjoys both, he feels Port Clyde is truly home. “Living here has offered us a life that we might not have had. We have space, we have time to talk. We have peace and quiet. And we have had a good history in this community.”—JW
PHOTOS: Don Moore