The river town of Hanover, N.H. is as old as the United States of America. First established in 1761, this ivy league town — home to Dartmouth College — is colored with all the traditional markers of New England living. Burlington, Vt.-based photographer Oliver Parini has familial ties to the town and recently revisited it while on assignment for Yankee Magazine. This project focused on highlighting local shopping, outdoor, and dining destinations so it enabled him to experience places in town he had not yet visited.
My parents used to live there, so I was able to check out some of their old haunts.
Oliver has been lucky to maintain an ongoing relationship with the publication over the last few years, collaborating on several annual projects featuring the fun flavors and seasonal activities of the New England lifestyle.
The assignments are all “New England” focused shoots like touring maple syrup shacks, finding the fall foliage, and capturing winter sports.
Yankee Magazine’s “Weekend Away” feature highlights the attractions and accommodations of small New England towns during a three-day stay. Before arriving in Hanover, Oliver was provided with previous features to get a feel for the style of the article and its accompanying imagery.
I worked with the photo editor to look at the locations and activities the writer mentions in the story, and we came up with a bunch of ideas for the shot list.
While he planned many of the shots with the publication’s photo editor, Heather Marcus, Oliver also took the time to research how the town had been photographed previously. He also took the time to scout locations using Google Earth and the Sun Surveyor application to ensure a smooth shoot.
This assignment required quite a bit of planning since I only had two days budgeted for the job, so I needed to stick to a schedule.
The town was first populated due to its proximity to the Connecticut River, which many collegiate athletes and residents still cross on scull boats in the early morning fog. Downtown Hanover is home to the 252-year-old Institute, Dartmouth College, which has laid the foundation for many of the small businesses to endure over hundreds of years.
The town has a very classic New England feel to it, with historic architecture, sugar maple, and elm trees everywhere you look.
Although the institution and its buildings are essential to the town’s identity, Oliver was unable to set foot on the college’s lawn — The Dartmouth Green — as the campus was closed to outside visitors. He navigated this challenge by shooting on public property and was able to photograph the picturesque experience of several students laughing beneath a reddening sugar maple tree.
In order to get shots of Dartmouth College, I could only shoot from public property. Fortunately, there were plenty of opportunities to capture the campus from outside its boundaries.
In the interest of highlighting all the Hanover has to offer, Oliver needed to balance the scenic valley vistas with the local businesses that make small New England towns so inviting. He used a combination of landscape, food, and portrait photography to satisfy his shot list, relying on his editorial style to bring the series together.
Travel assignments are great because they often require some experience in a few different genres of photography.
The assignment consisted of 12 separate shoots, with downtown attractions such as the Hood Museum of Art, the stylish Hanover Inn, and a host of local cafes and restaurants. Oliver also took the opportunity to visit a seasonal pumpkin patch and fly his drone over acres of farmland to see the Appalachian mountain range north of Hanover.
The schedule was tight, but most of the locations were relatively close together, which meant that I didn’t have to travel too far between shoots.
The trip resulted in an extensive photo library that covered every inch of this small New Hampshire town. As he spent time touring the places that draw both young and old to reside in Hanover, Oliver recreated the sense of family he felt when visiting his parent’s former home.
One of my favorite things about photography is that it allows me to explore and be curious about new places and people.