@ Division

I took these photos on Weston Street facing Division Ave. Division used to have a bad reputation. When I used to tell people I lived downtown they’d say to me, ‘OH, stay away from Division.’ I realized after a while that the people who used to say this to me were all from the suburbs.

If they had taken the time to visit this street in recent years they would have realized the charm of this area. Numerous shops and galleries line this street and all of them are locally owned. This area has a special vibe. It is very down to earth, with shop owners accepting the old buildings for what they are and working with that, instead of feeling the need to tear them down and destroy the city’s history in the name of commercialism.

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Grand Rapids Public Library

My number one most favorite building in downtown Grand Rapids is the Public Library. I recently made the move to the suburbs, but lived downtown for many years. I have fond memories of my Saturday walks to this library. It is a beautiful building inside and out. It was built in 1904. I think around the late 1960’s the main enterance was moved from the front to the side of the building, and the original Ryerson wing of the library was closed to the public. Thank goodness in the late 1990’s a renovation took place, and this entrance and wing was once again made public. Pictured below is an image taken from the second floor. The window in the background is the large arched window front and center in this picture.

In preparation of ArtPrize

“In particular what is most important to me is the transformation of a sound by slowing it down, sometimes extremely, so that the inner of sound becomes a conceivable rhythm.”

-Karlheinz Stockhausen

When I came across this quote from Stockhausen, I had to smile because I identified with it completely. As a photographer, it has always been my goal to transform the viewer’s mind. I aspire to provide people with an opportunity to see the world they walk in everyday from a new perspective.

In the moment the viewer takes pause, a magical thing happens. They have spent at lease a few seconds breaking their usual routine to take note of something different.  When that happens, it means I have succeeded. I have at least temporarily transformed the mind of the viewer to another place, and perhaps, another time.

I have always been in love with cities, and the variety of buildings and people that create them. I make a point of taking a photo every couple of days of something I may see everyday, but still have a fascination with. Living in Grand Rapids, Michigan and working downtown is very inspiring to me, and I use my photography to show the beauty of the city.

Shooting in black and white is my medium of choice. It strips away the distractions and reveals the soul of what you are looking at. It also helps to create a feel of timelessness. Many of these photographs would be difficult to label with an age if I hadn’t told you I shot them all in 2012.

Each photo has it’s own story to tell, and as a collection these images depict a day in the life of an ordinary person. Reminding us all that there is magic to be found in the most ordinary of things, and that by taking a moment to slow your mind, you may discover something you had never imagined.

ArtPrize is approaching–A reflection on my projectph

My new project for ArtPrize 2011

Back in college, I remember doing a semester-long project on architecture of Chicago religious buildings. The end result was a delicate, handmade book full of tiny color photographs. I remember my professor describing them as “small jewels”. I had titled it, ‘Shapes of Faith’. The spirit of these buildings has always captured my attention, and I have found myself photographing them on and off throughout the years.

The photograph I am showing for ArtPrize is an extension of this project. I changed things up a bit. I went back to my preferred medium of black and white photography, and I changed the scale dramatically to a much larger image.

Printing this on acrylic and adding background lighting gives this image a special dimension. It mirrors the theme of stained glass windows that are featured in so many churches.

The foreground and the church itself are under construction. A symbol that religion is an ever evolving experience throughout peoples’ lives.

ArtPrize is a pretty magical time here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I encourage all of you to come visit. If you are in town between September 21 and October 9, stop by 19 LaGrave to see my work.