Heath Paley’s ‘weirdly interesting’ photos capture diversity of Maine downtowns

Heath Paley approaches his art the way a private detective might approach a stakeout. He studies his subject from multiple perspectives, settling on one that offers a broad, unobstructed view.

His stakeouts may last several hours, sometimes days or weeks. He sits alone, camera at his eye, clicking off multiple shots with his 35mm camera.

A Portland-based fine-art photographer, Paley creates a single large-scale image – some as large as 8 feet wide and often mounted on aluminum – from a series of overlapping photos that he stitches together on a computer to create a composite digital image. The result is an unusually dense picture that is packed with depth, detail and saturated color.

When curator Heather Frederick saw a print of his in the Portland Museum of Art Biennial in 2011, she found it “weirdly interesting” but couldn’t readily identify why. Across the image – in every corner, in the middle, on

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