Posts Tagged 'photo curator'

Tiger Stadium – The Final Days

tigerstadium_construction 081, piblanks2005

(From Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr Photo Contest)

Writer Jack Lessenberry recently referred to Tiger Stadium as a “cathedral of America’s national pastime” (see – for more information on the preservation of the stadium). Many people may think of sacred sites as places with religious bearings, but in our short-lived American history, many of us are hard pressed not to feel a sense of desecration over places, albeit of a secular nature, that have influenced and shaped our collective identity, particularly as Detroiters.

Tiger Stadium has seen the better side of a wrecking ball over the last few weeks. This image attempts to preserve, in very simple terms, a last glimpse of that sacred ground. But when I look at this picture, I can’t help sensing that the stadium seems to know its fate while it sits there patiently and quietly awaiting the inevitable. -nb


The Heidelberg Project, Detroit


(From Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr Group)

Thank you for posting this image of The Heidelberg Project – it is a unique site to Detroit, and I hope to see more of this type of imagery in the competition. I once read a quote by THP’s creator Tyree Guyton that this project is not simply art but more “like medicine. You can’t heal the land until you heal the minds of the people.” Its tough to communicate the aesthetic, social, and cultural complexities/impact of this site in just one picture, and there are many interesting photographs of THP on

With available light as well as the glimpse of the house roofline at the lower right and the totem-like structure, actually a tree on the left, you have carefully composed visual information from this site in a unique way expressing its “essence”, as Kenro Izu would say. You give the viewer just enough information to discern the subject – at least if you know Detroit well, – and perhaps to viewers who are not familiar with the city, the photograph may provoke further investigation. So the picture stands out from some of the others in this respect.

For those individuals out there who may not know about it ,The Heidelberg Project is a Detroit treasure conceived by artist Tyree Guyton. It began a little over twenty years ago when Guyton turned an abandoned crack house in his neighborhood on Heidelberg Street (on Detroit’s east side) into a public art installation. Check out their website for maps and news about it at FYI – the latest news on The Heidelberg Project – it is one of 15 projects selected to represent the U.S. in the 2008 Biennale Architecture exhibition Sept. 14 through Nov. 23 in Venice, Italy.

Detroit Factories – Cathedrals of Industry

The Packard Plantjlehrler 

(From the Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr Group)

When artist Charles Sheeler visited Detroit to photograph the Rouge factory (another Albert Kahn designed factory complex in the Detroit area) in 1927, he referred to the it as a “Cathedral of Industry.” It is always interesting to hear an artist from Detroit refer to our industrial complexes as churches and sacred places. I am not surprised at all at this impression as these old historic sites are representative of our local culture particularly in regard to the automobile – a venerated object and symbol that will always be connected to Detroit’s history. But unlike Sheeler’s photographs of gleaming smokestacks, conveyors and machinery throughout th Rouge, this photograph tells a ghostly story of the transience and impermanance of tangible sacred monuments which may begin crumble and return to the earth. It is very similar to the manner in which Kenro Izu views and interprets ancient temples and other spiritual sites all over the world.

Fountain@Belle Isle? Homage to Atget

Fountainbobmosher (From the Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr Group)

Not sure if this is a picture of the fountain at Belle Isle or not – but it definitely reminds me of the photographs Eugene Atget made in Paris at the turn-of-the-century. Thanks for posting, Bob.

Sacred@the Train Station, Detroit

Sacred @ the Train Station, A V Z (From the Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr Group)

Thanks for your thoughtful comments on Zen Photography and the picture from the now- defunct Michigan Central Station on Michigan Avenue.The train station is a ghostly place these days, but perhaps it seems sacred because of its cathedral-like architecture, scale and remarkable light. You seem to understand very well the methodology of the artist regarding the essence of a place and share his ability to capture this in a photograph.

The Artist and the Exhibition

Preparing and presenting an exhibition at the DIA involves months of planning with a team of museum professionals who strive to make the experience of viewing art pleasurable and informative for a wide range of museum visitors. When I sat down to discuss the exhibition Kenro Izu Sacred Places with co-curator Amelia Chau, interpretive educator Madeleine Winslow, and designer Everett Kaiser in January 2008, we saw the photographs as powerful representations of many ancient sacred sites – the great pyramids of Cairo, the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and the ruins of Petra, among other places. We developed a strategy to express the meaning of the work in very clear terms by installing the work by geographical regions, using wall texts to describe the importance and sacredness of each site, and also including maps for those of us who are geographically challenged so-to-speak.

We agreed that Kenro has a very successful method of evoking “the sacred” and expressing a particular sense of a place in his photographs through formal means, and the exhibition clearly demonstrates this. Kenro creates dramatic compositions, and waits for the right lighting conditions to express the “spirit” or essence of a place. He pays particular attention to texture of the materials  used to build the structures and monuments including stone, volcanic ash, and mud brick as well as qualities of the natural landscape. His choice of photograph printing, the platinum palladium process, accentuates these details as the process yields fine detail in a photographic print.

Interestingly, we also agreed how seamless the process could look to the to our visitors, in other words, they may be thinking that Kenro very easily snapped a beautiful picture without much effort, but in actuality, he often makes arduous journeys through remote parts of the world, climbing mountains, hiking through jungles, and camping outdoors in all types of weather conditions to create his photographs. His camera alone weighs nearly 300 pounds! And his large negatives measure 14 x 18 inches, so he is limited to the amount of film he can bring to a particular site. Exposure of each negative must be carefully calculated. The negatives are then brought back to his U.S. studio for processing and printing. All in all, a painstaking process, but not without its rewards.

Jimi in the Upper Room

Jimi in the Upper Room
,  No Trams To Lime Street (From Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr Photo Group)
When I first saw this image posted, I immediately got a sense of the east side, the part of town where I grew up, and store fronts like this one that are a familiar site along Gratiot Avenue. This image reminds me of photographs like the those of Walker Evans from the 1930s – pictures that became evocative of American culture, through a photographer’s close examination of this country’s indigeneous expressions of life including mom and pop shops with their homemade signs and decorations along with remnants of popular culture like posters of cultural icons, etc. This photograph shows a unique and ironic interpretation of the “sacred” found right here in 21st-century Detroit.

Flickr Photos

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