One woman, one camera, many photos: social media on Brier Island

Published on March 17, 2017

Amy Tudor, Brier Island and the camera she uses to photograph and share.

©Jess Tudor

DIGBY, NS - People normally think of island communities as places where time stands still.

In some ways, Brier Island is an exception to the rule. One of those ways is its use of social media.

Amy Tudor moved to the island in 2012, when she moved back with husband Jess Tudor, and has since become its main media gal. She takes photos and posts them to countless social media pages, including the We Love Nova Scotia Facebook page, which has nearly 37,000 followers, and the Westport, Brier Island Facebook page, which she created.

The page now has nearly 1,300 followers, which is over five times the island’s permanent population of approximately 215 people. The page has grown organically, just from people seeing the photos and “liking” them.

Tudor’s first official social media role was with Brier Island Lodge. After a few weeks of posting photos and searching online, she realized the island “needed a larger presence in cyberspace.”

She then began working to promote other island businesses like the Mariner Cruises Whale and Seabird Tours, and created pages for R.E. Robicheau’s General Store, the Brier Island Hostel, the Ice House Gift Shop, the Lighthouse Cafe, the Westport Library, and countless other businesses and spots on the island.

“Most businesses are in their 20-30 year range now, and began in an era when nothing was online,” she said.

“It’s awesome that I’m able to help out and get content out there.”

Many of the photos she’s taken and posted have been used as promotional material on the Tourism Nova Scotia website, which she says is hugely exciting.

You look one way and see one set of colours, only to look back that way 30 seconds later and everything’s changed. Amy Tudor

These groups don’t even sum up what Tudor is involved with: she belongs to nearly 20 groups on Facebook and channels on Instagram that target lighthouses, seven that target sea glass and 12 that focus on fishing and lobster.

“I just love it all,” she says.

“I love seeing it, and shooting it. I’ll take photos of sweeping sunsets, but also tiny barnacles on a fishing buoy.”

Western Lighthouse, Amy Tudor's favourite spot to shoot. "You look one way and see one set of colours, only to look back that way 30 seconds later and everything’s changed,” she says.

Photos by Amy Tudor

One of Amy Tudor's shots for Mariner Cruises Whale and Seabird Tours. She says she's "incredibly lucky to shoot these amazing creatures."

Photos by Amy Tudor

The Brier Island bog restoration project, also shot by Tudor, who loves the different flora and fauna the island has to offer.

Photos by Amy Tudor

Northern Light and Alarm, another Lighthouse Tudor loves to shoot.

Photos by Amy Tudor

Sis Elliott's seaglass, all found around Brier Island. Since the creation of the Brier Island Sea Glass Collector Facebook group, more members have joined and word has spread that the island is a sea glass mecca.

Photos by Sis Elliott

Another of Tudor's Brier Island wildlife shots. "There's just so much here for people to see, and experience," she says.

Photos by Amy Tudor

Tudor also photographs smaller, quieter moments on the island, such as these buoys hanging from trees.

Photos by Amy Tudor

"I like photographing the ferries, because I feel the experience of riding two ferries to get to one place is a bit of a romantic thing," says Tudor.

Photos by Amy Tudor

Sunsets are a favourite time of day for Tudor, who says they "open up a whole different set of colours to photograph."

Photos by Amy Tudor

Tudor says she feels "honoured that the community has accepted what I do, and has been appreciative of me capturing our moments in time.”

Photos by Amy Tudor

There was a social media presence on the island before Tudor, albeit on a different subject altogether: sea glass. Sis Elliott formed the Brier Island Sea Glass Collector group in 2012, not as an advertising technique, but for people to join and comment about their finds across the island.

The group grew anyways and now sits at 900 members, which Sis says has been an interesting process.

“It’s been bit by bit, but the group certainly has grown quite a bit since it started,” she says.

“It has definitely increased the amount of people who come to Brier Island in search of sea glass.”

She says the only drawback has been a funny one – new beachcombers picking up pieces left by locals to sit, and to get tumbled, which is when a piece of sea glass looks especially weathered from the ocean.

Tudor takes photos of all aspects of island life, but has one favourite spot. When venturing onto any of the social media channels Tudor frequents, it becomes obvious that she has a passion for photographing Western Lighthouse, officially called the Brier Island Light and Alarm.

“There are so many variations in that spot. You look one way and see one set of colours, only to look back that way 30 seconds later and everything’s changed,” she says.

Tudor's camera. Western Lighthouse is reflected inside the lens.

©Jess Tudor

Tudor is also looking at future projects as well, such as a series of short videos about the island and it’s various hot spots. She sees these various social media channels as her creative outlet. She says it’s a lucky coincidence that what she enjoys also serves to introduce Brier Island to so many people.

“On average, I introduce Brier Island to at least one new person every day,” she says.

The connections these pages foster also amaze Tudor, who compares it to a six degrees of separation situation.

“When I put these images out there, and someone says ‘I was there in 1952 and talked to Jimmy McDormant,’ I just can’t even believe it,” she says.

“I feel honoured that the community has accepted what I do, and has been appreciative of me capturing our moments in time.”

Tudor doesn’t see anything standing between her and carrying on the role as long as she is able.

“As long as I can walk and snap a photo, I’ll continue to actively and positively promote this area,” she says.

“Once you come to Brier Island, you never forget it.”