Island photographer Michael Blanchard never saw himself as the creative type, until he picked up a camera and began taking pictures on Martha’s Vineyard. Less than a decade later, Mr. Blanchard is a working artist and author, with his own gallery in Oak Bluffs and a devoted following for both his luminous Island landscapes and his freely-shared experiences as a recovering alcoholic.

“I have a lot of people that are coming to me and asking for help,” said Mr. Blanchard, who last year completed a master’s program in psychology with a focus on substance use disorder.

His new book, Through a Sober Lens: A Photographer’s Journey, is both a coffee-table treasury of Vineyard landscape photography and a guide to life for recovering addicts and their families.

The book’s 43 personal essays — each paired with one of his photos — follow the parallel tracks of Mr. Blanchard’s evolution as an artist and his emergence from the depths of substance abuse and depression.

As a boy, his only dream was to be a major league baseball pitcher. After realizing this was an unreachable goal, “I lost my way and never got it back. And I really believe my inclination to self-medicate started right there at age 14. I had nothing else,” he writes in an essay titled Show Your Children How to Believe in Themselves.

“I had no self-concept, so I shot for something outside of myself to mask the pain.”

He ran marathons and became a successful businessman in Maine. But the heartbroken boy was still inside him as he developed a drinking habit that eventually landed him in jail, with three OUI arrests in as many months, and drove him close to suicide.

Commitment to a psychiatric hospital, followed by a three-month stay at an Arizona rehab center that specializes in treating professionals — doctors, nurses, pilots and executives — began the turnaround for Mr. Blanchard.

Then he picked up the camera.

“Photography appeared out of nowhere for me,” he said. “Up to the age of 57 or 58, when I first took it up, I never even thought about being a photographer.”

At first, photography offered a pretext for Mr. Blanchard to explore the natural beauty that had drawn him to the Vineyard.

“The camera ended up being my vehicle to go back outside again, with a purpose of finding peace in nature and waves and birds,” he said. “What I found is that the meaning came in . . . because of the people I bumped into while I was out there. It was all about the people.”

Mr. Blanchard had already begun writing as part of his recovery process. But the images he captured on Martha’s Vineyard and in Maine added greater dimension to what he was trying to express — and struck resonant notes within many viewers.

“If you can attach emotion and feeling to a photograph, it adds power to what you want to say,” he said.

While many of his most distinctive images are sweeping Vineyard vistas and aerial shots of such iconic views as the Gay Head cliffs and the Edgartown Lighthouse, his own all-time favorite is one of his earliest: a photo of a small bird on the beach.

Shot from behind, the solitary sanderling surveys the out-of-focus waves ahead of it, with one foot planted on the sand and the other slightly raised as if to stride forward.

“All that’s in focus is the bird and the sand at its feet. Everything else is blurry,” said Mr. Blanchard, who sees his own early sobriety in the image he has titled Starting Over.

“I had just come back, I had lost most of what I had,” he said. “But at least now, after I went to a rehab facility and I had some self-confidence and some self-love, I had myself and the sand at my feet. Everything seemed out of focus and it seemed blurry, but it seemed good and I was ready to start over.”