Portrait of a Forest: Men and Machine

Portrait of a Forest: Men and Machine

"Tweeter" Felion, right, his son Larry Jr., left, and his brother Ron, center, on a lot owned by A. Johnson Company of Bristol. Tweeter, who is still logging at age 81, first cut this woodlot 30 years ago.

Over the past five years, photojournalist George Bellerose has spent thousands of hours photographing and interviewing loggers and others whose jobs, one way or another, connect to the forests of Addison County, Vermont.

George has done this work alone, mostly self-funded, with a skepticism about his own importance. His role, he explained, is to “stay out of the way” and let people tell their stories. “At the end, I hope the people I have been documenting will say, “Yes, this is who we are and what we do.”

He always shares work prints of his photographs with his subjects. “Loggers don’t have time to take photos,” he explained. “In many cases, they have little or no record of their lives in the woods.”

Starting in the winter issue of Northern Woodlands, we’ll be featuring some of these interviews, along with George’s photographs. Although nearly all originate from just one small county in Vermont, they have a bigger tale to tell about the logging profession across the Northeast. Change out a word or two, and these interviews could have just as easily come out of western Massachusetts, or northern Maine.
 
We’re grateful to have the opportunity to feature this content, and we hope that by doing so we’ll help raise awareness of the book on loggers and logging that George is working on and plans to publish in 2019. If you’d like to help, you can email George directly or call him at (802) 545-2035. Also check out this gallery of his work at the Vermont Folklife Center’s webpage.

 
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