On the afternoon of Saturday, May 30, peaceful protesters met in Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids and marched in silence to protest the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Their message of outrage was clear. As night fell, a different crowd took to the streets and the evening turned violent as rioters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, burned police cars and caused other mayhem.
The following morning, volunteers from the community came downtown and cleaned up the mess leaving, behind boarded up businesses. Most of the business remain covered in plywood. But, the plywood has become a canvas for artists to send a message to the community about racism, redemption, and Black Lives Matter.
Someday soon, the plywood will come down, replaced by glass. The artwork will be auctioned off. While it is wonderful that the artwork will be preserved, it may lose some of its impact when it no longer appears together. So today I walked around downtown today to capture these photos. (Click on an image to see it larger.)
From Wendell Berry’s poem, “The Peace of Wild Things“:
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
Some peaceful images after a terrible night in our city and across the country.
I figure I spent close to two hours this weekend (2 separate visits) standing in the middle of a stream that feeds into Honey Creek. What a great way to start the day, listening to the burbling of the stream as it passes over the rocks on its way to the larger creek. On this morning’s visit I was rewarded with mayapple flowers, which are hidden beneath a canopy of leaves. Mayapples grow in colonies from a single root system. Their leaves obscure the beautiful flower that blossoms in late April or May.
I submitted three photographs to Lenswork Magazine today for possible inclusion in a book they will publish this fall titled, “Our Magnificent Planet.” They will select 300 photographs from those submitted. Fingers crossed, they will select one of these. (Click on images to see them full size.)
Basch Road farm, Point Oneida, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. #puremittigan #puremichigan #awesomemitten #upnorth #leelanaucounty #Leelanau #leelanaupeninsula #mileelanau #sleepingbearnps #sleepingbeardunes #shareslbe #PointOneida
Leading lines. #fog #foggy #train #bridge #trainbridge #trailrails #grandrapids #grandrapidsmi #grandrapidsmichigan
After our 6:00 a.m. commando visit to the grocery store (complete with face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer), I escaped our new Covid-19 reality and went out to Seidman Park with my camera to see what Spring looks like. (Click images to see them full size.)
The sun shines through the emerging leaves.
Mayapples getting their brief moment in the sun.
A fern begins its growth spurt.
Honey Creek courses over some boulders.
Petite flowers on the shore of Honey Creek
This moss-covered tree root caught my eye.
A feeder stream for Honey Creek
New life sprouts from a fallen tree.
I took these photos in response to a photo challenge by Chris Smith, founder of the Out of Chicago photography conference. While we are social distancing in our houses, Smith encouraged photographers to look around their homes and photograph textures and patterns. Click on an image to see it larger.
Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order is denying me the opportunity to travel north to photograph this year’s spring. So, I have begun practicing macro photography. On one of our infrequent visits to to the grocery store I bought some flowers and on a walk I found a couple of pine cones to stand in for Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan and Point Oneida. Even in the smallest things, however, there is beauty. (Click on a photo to see a larger version.)
Being under orders to social distance in our homes during the Covid-19 pandemic does not prevent us from getting out and exploring, virtually, some of the world’s greatest museums of art. I have a gathered here links to four temporary exhibits that no one is able to view right now except on the Internet. After that I have included links to a host of museums and cultural sites that you can explore in the safety of your home. If I come across more
- These temporary exhibits are available for online viewing while the museums that are hosting them are closed to the public because of Covid-19:
- Visit art museums, world heritage sites, explore street art in London, Lyon and New York on Google Street View. Get a Street View tour of Stonehenge or the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
- Take a Google Street View tour of:
- Take a virtual tour of these museums:
- The Louvre, Paris
- The National Gallery, London
- The British Museum, London
- The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, Rome
- The Detroit Institute of Art
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe
- The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
- The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.
- The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- The Uffize Gallery, Florence
- See works of art from 500 art museums and galleries on Google Arts & Culture.
- Explore an exhibit on Youtube:
- For kids:
- The National Gallery of Art has video explorations of great works of art just for kids.
- The National Gallery of Art also has an app for kids, NGAkids Art Zone app (for iPad), that contains eight interactive activities inspired by works in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, plus a sketchbook for freehand drawing and a personal exhibition space where users can save and display art created with the program.
My wife and I are hunkered down, both working from home, doing our best to stay away from the Covid-19 virus. Of course, it is important to get out of the house. We have each been taking walks alone and together. Fortunately, the last few days have been dry and bright. The last couple of mornings, I have gotten out early before the world gets going to shoot some photos.
Yesterday, I drove around the city of Grand Rapids looking for a composition. I decided to shoot the Chester Street Engine House, home of Company 11. I drive by the station each evening on my way home from work and have frequently and have admired often.
Constructed in 1902, the Chester Street Engine House is the oldest active fire station in Grand Rapids. The building is designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, popular in the late 1800s. The Grand Rapids Historical Commission’s website, describes it as follows: “Design characteristics are: asymmetrical massing; a decorative wall texture created by the brickwork, variegated on the first floor and smooth on the second; the row of wide, round-arch (Romanesque) windows, as well as the double-hung windows with (not quite) transom windows above. Although the dormer is quite typical, the wide, over-hanging eaves of the roof give it an almost Prairie style look.”
My morning wanderings also took me to Grand Rapids’s southwest side where I spotted several spiral fire escapes. These are still fairly common on older Grand Rapids buildings. The spiral stairs made for an interesting bit of shadow play, reminding me of a Möbius strip.
This morning, I drove through the country to Fallasburg Village, north of Lowell, which was founded on the banks of the Flat River in the 1830s by John Wesley Fallass. The Village, which today consists of a few preserved buildings and some private homes, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. More information about Fallasburg can be found on the website of the Fallasburg Historical Society.
I focused my attention this morning on the Fallass Barn with its stone foundation, built in 1894.