The Hancock County Trustees for Public Reservations, with Acadia National Park cofounder George B. Dorr, center, pose in this merged photo with Then and Now committee members in color, from left, Tony Palumbo, Kathy Macleod, Tim Garrity and Marie Yarborough. IMAGE COURTESY OF TONY PALUMBO

Then and Now merges past, present

A New Jersey photographer has channeled his 30-year love affair with Mount Desert Island into a special art project in honor of the Acadia National Park Centennial.

Anthony “Tony” Palumbo, the man behind the wildly popular Facebook page “I Love (MDI) Bar Harbor, Maine!” was intrigued while looking at side-by-side images showing local scenes years ago and in the present. Superimposing the images in a digital photography program seemed like a natural next step. “I showed some to Marie Yarborough at Acadia National Park, and she loved it,” he said.

“Mount Desert Island, Then and Now: Re-Imagining Our Past and Present,” was born.

Yarborough, who is the park’s curator of cultural resources, was hooked instantly. “We wanted to use our collections plus Tony’s creativity to inspire, entertain, engage and capture the imaginations of the public with his playful, exciting images,” she said.

Eventually, Tim Garrity at the MDI Historical Society and Kathy Macleod at the Bar Harbor Historical Society joined Palumbo and Yarborough and assisted in moving the project ahead. Helpful MDI photographers, including George Soules and Kelly Mitchell, have handled capturing modern images of the older scenes. Getting new frames with the same perspective as the old ones isn’t easy, Palumbo noted. “It takes a lot of patience on the photographers’ part,” he said.

Palumbo, who in everyday life is the creative director at BMGZ Strategies in Basking Ridge, N.J., said merging some of the images can take dozens of hours, although the average takes two or three hours. For him, it’s a labor of love, an homage to the place he holds in great affection.

“I’ve been coming up there since my honeymoon in1988,” said Palumbo. “I’d really like to move to MDI some day.”

The Islander will run a new image weekly through the fall. Scenes include familiar downtown locations as well as places in Acadia National Park.

“These inventive images will be sure to capture the imagination of anyone who cherishes Mount Desert Island,” said Yarborough.

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.
Earl Brechlin

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