I am a photographer in Northern Michigan with a special interest in capturing the moods and visual and spiritual impacts of the Great Lakes, in particular Lake Superior.
This lake must be experienced to understand it. There are two aspects that are the dominant part of that experience: the seemingly infinite horizon and the purity of its waters. Blue is the overwhelming presence. Sitting on a hillside, or a bluff, overlooking either of them can consume an entire afternoon, if not a lifetime.
I am drawn to the horizon. I want to see what lies beyond, to go there, to find where it ends, or takes me to. And the horizon stretches forever. The size of these lakes belies their classification as inland lakes, they are more properly thought of as inland seas.
Lake Superior is the queen of the Great Lakes, clearer, deeper, and larger than any other, and brings with it a sense of spiritual presence, a cleansing of mind and heart. It is of course more than a beautiful body of water, being the waterway that supports a vast shipping industry for coal and iron ore. Somehow though, the lake feels and looks virgin, untouched. It is literally the land of the Song of Hiawatha by Longfellow. Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, on an expedition with Lewis Cass early in Michigan’s history, wrote a treatise on the legends and stories of the Ojibway Indians as told to him by Jim Clark, an old Indian man on Grand Island, off the shores of Munising. Schoolcraft’s writings made their way to the hands of Longfellow, who wrote them into the poem The Song of Hiawatha. It is an adaptation of the actual myths of that tribe that became a world-famous poem, read and memorized by schoolchildren around the world.
These photographs began when I stood on a hill in the Ontonogan area of the Porcupine Mountains State Park overlooking Lake Superior, asking the question: How can I capture the spirit of this lake in photographs? What is the secret to conveying the feelings that I have when viewing it.
This portfolio is my current best answer, and I am still trying.