Le cover, c’est moi.
I’m talking about the Gerry Boyle cover photo of the February/March issue of Northern New England Journey magazine. I wondered if it would be noticeable.
The cover photo was taken on Custom House Wharf in Portland’s Old Port. I like it down there and so does my series protagonist Brandon Blake. I walk the city’s streets and docks. Brandon walks (and drives) the beat. He also lives on a vintage Chris Craft cabin cruiser in Portland Harbor.
When photographer Nance Trueworthy called to schedule the photo shoot, she asked me to take her to all of the places my detective (patrolman) hero goes. We wandered around the Old Port, where Brandon helps keep the drinking crowd under control. We explored the Parkside neighborhood, where Brandon searches for a missing baby (pre-Ayla Reynolds) and comes up empty for more than 300 pages. (More to come on the Ayla case). We tromped around Munjoy Hill, the Eastern Prom, where Brandon is given a hard time for being a cop. We walked Upper Congress Street in a blisteringly cold wind.
But we settled back into the waterfront because that’s where Brandon is most at home.
There’s nothing like the film noire feel of a working waterfront, especially at night. The photo was shot after we asked a guy working at The Comedy Club, which was closed, if he could do us a favor and turn on the outside light. He thought about it for a minute, then helped us out. Thanks, bud.
We shot in a brick-lined alley. On the edge of the wharf. With boats in the background. But it was the hollow-sounding boardwalk, the purple wall with the hole in the siding, the vintage signs that kept pulling us back. We wanted to get the half-wild wharf cats in the shot but they were too elusive.
So do I wander the wharves in a Sam Spade overcoat, my fedora pulled low? Well, maybe not. I prefer a baseball cap and leather jacket. But we were trying to capture the spirit of the nighttime city streets, the mystery of the darkened wharves. I hope that when you look at the photo you feel a little of that.
I sure did.
Catch you on the streets.