Last Chance to See Sacred Places – Upcoming Photography@DIA

To all the Detroit Sacred Places members and others interested in photography here in Detroit and at the DIA, Kenro Izu Sacred Places will close on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008. If you haven’t seen the exhibition, the coming week may be your last chance. 

I hope you will join us for the next exhibition of photography, In the Company of Artists, which will open Wednesday, November 19, 2008. The exhibition features portraits of artists from the nineteenth century through the present day. All works are from the DIA’s permanent collection with a supplement of nineteenth century material from Novi area collectors Leonard and Jean Walle.

Diane Arbus, Love-In, Central Park, New York City, 1969, by Garry Winogrand, © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

In conjunction with this exhibition, The Forum for Prints, Drawings and Photographs will be sponsoring a lecture by photographer Ari Marcopoulos, who will speak in lecture hall at the DIA at 7PM on Thursday, January 22, 2009 with a book signing and reception following for members of the FPDP. 

Jeff Koons, 1987, by Ari Marcopouls

Jeff Koons, 1987, by Ari Marcopoulos,© Ari Marcopoulos courtesy The Project.



If you are interesting in learning more about the FPDP, an auxiliary group dedicated to supporting acquisitions and programs related to works on paper, please visit our website

I look forward to seeing our flickr community at upcoming DIA events! Thanks again for your support.

Nancy Barr


Izu’s, and Detroit’s, Sacred Places

Yesterday, the DIA had the distinct honor of hosting Kenro Izu at an artist’s lecture, during which he described his 30-plus years of photographing sacred places around the world. For Izu, it is a personal journey that has taken him from recognizing the enduring sacredness surrounding ancient stone structures, to witnessing the impermanence of existence — both human and architectural, to, recently, allowing himself exposure to the sacred inner spirit of the residents of Bhutan when he photographed them. (Izu’s current traveling exhibition is entitled “Bhutan: the Sacred Within”). Happily for us, Izu’s personal quest and his desire to communicate his vision has yielded a wonderful corpus of photographs that is inspirational on so many levels. I think many will agree with me when I say that viewing his work is, in itself, a spiritual experience.

It is this personal connection to the subject that I found so prevalent in the entries to our Detroit’s Sacred Places competition. Many of you had personal stories to tell when describing the moment, object, or site you photographed. Your stories and histories were as diverse as this greater Detroit area we call home, and I truly enjoyed viewing your submissions and reading your descriptions. As my fellow jurors Nancy Barr and Kyohei Abe commented, we selected the winners with an awareness of Izu’s approach to his work. We felt that the winning entries were powerful visual images, all of them replete with an awareness of Detroit’s history. The idea of sacredness translates from the personal meaning these sites embody for the photographers, and in the case of the 1st and 2nd prize winners, a tangible sense of hope for the future. Personally, I find these entries quite moving, and I can sense the affection all of our photographers have for this rough-and-tumble city.

Please accept my sincere “thank you” and “congratulations” to all of our participants. We are truly gratified by your enthusiastic response to our first Flickr photo contest, and to Izu’s exhibition and lecture. We hope to see you soon and often at the DIA.

Amelia Chau

Detroit’s Sacred Places – The Final Images

When I sat down last Friday with co-jurors Amelia Chau and Kyohei Abe as well as our marketing coordinator Lyndsay Ruell (who, incidentally, master-minded the idea of engaging our community through flickr with this contest), we discussed the imagery, sometimes at great length, and carefully reviewed your statements, which were often instrumental in defining the artist’s conception of “the sacred” as well as a particular site’s distinct relationship to Detroit and its history. In the end, the task was so difficult, we determined the most relevant outcome for this contest would be to make a statement through a group of photographs that shared similar ideas, in particular, through a group which were resonant of Detroit’s past and perhaps, its uncertain future.

The final selection of five images, a first place, second place, as well as three honorable mentions, were made because they embody ideas that motivated artist Kenro Izu to photograph ancient sacred sites. Izu sought to capture the atmosphere of a place to give it a sense of sacredness as well as a sense of the past, quite like our winners have done. But most notably, Izu was motivated to photograph many ancient sites because of their endangerment through neglect and sometimes deliberate destruction. This is certainly the case with the sites depicted in our final selections. Honorable mention designee tEdGuY49® stated it best when he noted that Detroit is “a sacred contrast…the hopes and dreams of so many that went before us, the pride of today and maybe love for the city tomorrow.” 

On behalf of the Detroit Institute of Arts, I want to thank and congratulate, not only the winners of this contest, but all the participants, our audience of 163 members, the jurors and DIA staff who helped make our first-time-ever flickr photo contest such a great success. For the past two months, and in particular, the last few days, with new entries appearing at lightening speed, it has been a unique and interesting journey. Many of these images will continue to linger in my mind for a very long time.

Nancy Barr

Judging Criteria

First of of all, we would like to thank you for your submissions – we thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the entries.


So many excellent entries are submitted to the contest. The voting process unfortunately resulted in the elimination of many good images. The winning photographs you see posted on the site feature a strong combination of the assets we sought in an image.


An explanation of our judging criteria – used as a guideline during the voting process – follows.

We sought images that had thoughtful attention to aesthetic; awareness of light as an essential component of image formation, colors, composition,and other elements. We looked for your creativity and “personal vision” in each image. We also required that entries pertained to the contest theme, “Detroit’s Sacred Places”, and were accompanied by an artist statement – which we absolutely delighted in reading!


Thank you very much for participating Detroit’s Sacred Places photography contest.




Kyohei Abe


Congratulations to the Winners!

And the winners are…

First Prize:

Tree growing in rotting paper, former Detroit Public Schools book depository.

Tree growing in rotting paper, former Detroit Public Schools book depository. By: Sweet Juniper

Second Prize:

Brooke Hanley

Heidelberg by: Brooke Hanley

Honorable Mentions:


by: TeDgUy49

The Michigan Theater by: danseybold

The Packard Plant by: Jlehrler

Final Days!

First and foremost, WOW! Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr Contest continues to be a thoughtful reflection on Detroit. Thank you to all that have contributed and followed the project!

This is a friendly reminder that the contest closes at midnight, tomorrow, Wednesday, September 3. Get your last minute submissions in!

Fountain at Hart Plaza

Fountain at Hart Plaza,  jejules 

(From Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr Photo Contest)

This photograph reminded me of Charles Sheeler’s photograph, specifically from a series of River Rouge Plant images which were exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2004. In this series, Sheeler documented Ford Motor Company’s plant at River Rouge (1927). Sheeler captured the beauty and precision of the industrial structures and machinery. What I liked about this image was that Sheeler was able to capture the sacredness through his sensitivity and his deeper observation of the subject matter.
In your photograph I really enjoyed the composition, the format and cropping, which creates a sense of the discovery of a new world. I also liked the use of black and white process in this image – I have always loved the look and feel of black and white photographs. I feel the sacredness because of this image – because the fountain has been photographed, and not necessarily because of where it is. This is a definite collaborative moment between photographer, camera, and subject.
Your image definitely captured the beauty and precision of the sculpture and its reasons or purposes. This image of fountain and water, somehow overlaps with religious place or like a spiritual monument. I love the strong horizontal line dividing the water fall (which acts a bit like a curtain, maybe hiding something very special?) and pavement and also love that blurriness at the front of the image. Those little details create a dynamic photograph.

Thank your for posting your photograph.

Flickr Photos

© The Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit's Sacred Places, 2008-2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit's Sacred Places with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.