How a couple turned a paper route into a photography business

MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass. -- The first boat docks at Martha's Vineyard at 4:30 a.m. Every morning Yann Meersseman and his wife Moira Fitzgerald load 2,000 pounds of newspapers into two beat-up vans and hit the road.

When they started this job six years ago it was just that -- a job. After losing their six figure incomes in architecture and software during the recession, it was a way to make just enough money to stay on the island they love.

Their friends on the mainland thought they'd gone mad.

"I said you know what? You should see the sights. You should see this place in the morning, it's fantastic," Meersseman said. "I'll take a picture every day and send it to you."

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Vineyard Colors

That's how Vineyard Colors started. Today they have 2,000 email subscribers and over 13,000 likes on Facebook.

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Moira Fitzgerald pauses to take a photo while on her paper route. CBS News

Fitzgerald says sometimes she's so preoccupied with taking a photo, she's not even thinking about the paper route.

"Sometimes I just get out of the car and start taking photographs and 25 minutes go by. And I think, oh, maybe I should deliver some papers."

Demand for their photos is so great they've expanded into cards, calendars, and even art exhibits. Even so, they earn a fraction of what they used to make in their high-pressure corporate jobs - only about 20 percent.

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Vineyard Colors

When asked if they are happier now than they used to be, their answer was a unanimous "Yes."

Meersseman says there's always something to photograph in the morning light on Martha's Vineyard -- always something to brighten the day for thousands of their closest friends.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.