We wait all winter for days like this: sunny, decently warm, fresh breeze blowing.
In our new neighborhood, we’re surrounded by parks and playgrounds. Sparks Park – kind of Jackson’s own Central Park – is a block or two away, and we have several schools in the street next to ours, lousy with playground equipment. Our old neighborhood was very walkable, but it’s nice being so close to all this fun.
Now, when we go on walks around the neighborhood, the kids beg to go to one of the playgrounds. I have a feeling we’ll spend a lot of time here.
And that’s great. For today, we’re just happy to be outside.
Toward the end of last summer, I took to the streets of my hometown for a solo photo walk.
I make lots of pictures of Jackson, but I hadn’t headed downtown with the intent to make a series in a while. With summer ending, and the light changing, I figured the hour near sunset would be fun to capture.
While downtown Jackson is on the upswing – lots of new restaurants, the brewery is booming, the road project is mostly done – you still feel like (as my grandmother would say) you could shoot a canon ball down Michigan Ave. after 5 p.m. and not hit a soul. The hope is that’ll change in time.
Here’s the first in a series of city photos focusing on Jackson, Michigan’s few downtown blocks.
My portrait project, Artists In Jackson, helped me to achieve one of my life goals: to make a book.
It was self published. And it was a small-time deal. But I got to see my name on a hard-cover book where I wrote the text, designed the layout, and made the photographs.
Arts & Cultural Alliance of Jackson County is sponsoring a book publishing forum featuring local Jackson, Michigan, authors – including me! – on Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Ella Sharp Museum. We’ll talk about our publishing experience, answer questions, and give tips to get others to publish their material. You should come!
My little book is a self-publishing story, but I’m sharing the stage with authors who have completed much bigger and more well-known book projects. It should be fun.
With all the tools at our disposal, it’s never been easier to publish your passion project. I hope to encourage more artists and writers to make a physical thing and get their ideas out into the world.
As I plan for my next portrait project, the idea of renting a studio space keeps popping up. Wouldn’t it be nice to have my own dedicated creative space, instead of relying on environmental portraits at other people’s studios or homes?
So I started shopping around, and asking friends and colleagues about potential studios.
The kicker is the set of conditions I’ve set on myself: strong window light, with an east or west-facing window, semi-centrally located in Jackson (for easy access), plenty of wiggle room for materials, and convenient availability to fit my work and family schedule. I’ve seen a few places around town that fit the bill, but another complication is that I’ll only need the space for a month or two. If I rent, I’m not sure how many landlords would be up for a 60 day lease.
But we’ll see. I’m starting to make phone calls and get my bearings. It’s a whole new world.