Photographer Friday: Bill Schwab

Pier Ruin, Cross Village, 2006

Pier Ruin, Cross Village, 2006, photo by Bill Schwab

One of my favorite Michigan fine art photographers is Bill Schwab, and I still remember the day when I pulled up the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr to find he’d added some of his photos to the group, including the one above.

This morning I learned that he will be presenting an artist lecture “Across Iceland” for the Charlevoix Circle of Arts:

Fine art photographer, Bill Schwab has been taking photo-expeditions to Iceland since 2009. He will share some of his favorite photographs of Iceland’s harsh, yet beautiful, landscape. Schwab is also the founder of PhotostockFest held annually in Harbor Springs. The Artists Adventure Lecture Series are free and open to the public.

Click above for more on the event and visit the Charlevoix Circle of Arts for more about them. Bill’s PhotostockFest takes place June 18-21 and you can register and get details on workshops and the event at that link.

The photography site RFOTOFOLIO has a great interview Seeing the Beauty: Bill Schwab that starts out:

My father’s side of the family was very much into photography. My Great Grandfather, Frederic C. Lutge had a portrait studio in late 19th and early 20th century Detroit and it branched out from there. My father always had interesting cameras and my uncle had a darkroom. I was fascinated by the gear. Even when I was too young to have a camera, I would draw pictures of them. After cutting them out I would pretend to use them and then draw the pictures “taken” with my cut out cameras and show them to people. Apparently I was hooked at an early age, but it wasn’t until I was twelve that I started processing and contact printing my own film from an old Ansco kit. After that, it is all a blur.

…Growing up in Detroit, pretty much everyone worked in the automobile manufacturing industry and I knew very well at a young age that wasn’t going to be my destiny. I can remember very clearly my dad asking me what I wanted to be at about age five. I said that I would get a job like his and he basically said, no way. Then there was my mom with her unbridled curiosity. She was an early news junky and I seriously think she missed her calling by not going into journalism. The major happenings of the day were right there on the TV during dinner and I was very aware and interested in what was going on. We had subscriptions to Life Magazine and Look and I loved to go through the pages looking at the photographs.

Read on for lots more and some beautiful photos.

View Bill’s photo of the ruins of the pier at Cross Village bigger on Flickr and see lots more from across the state in his Michigan slideshow. You can view and purchase prints at billschwab.com. He’s a good follow on Facebook and also just started up an Instagram @bill_schwab, so you might want to follow along there too!

More Michigan photographers on Michigan in Pictures.

Grace Dickinson & Leelanau County’s Female Photographers

WomenPhotographers-GraceDickinson-SteamerMissouri

Steamer “Missouri” docked in Leland in 1919, photo by unknown, hand colored by Dickinson Photography

This week’s Glen Arbor Sun has a terrific feature by my friend Kathleen Stocking on Six Leelanau County Women Photographers. She profiles Barbara Nowinski, Kathleen (Dodge) Buhler, Meggen Watt Peterson, Ashmir McCarthy, Marty Schilling and Grace Dickinson. Here’s Grace:

Grace Dickinson has a photo studio across the road from the place her grandparents first came to on the south shore of Little Glen Lake in the summer of 1912. Her grandparents traveled to the Leelanau Peninsula by steamer, from the Navy Pier in Chicago up Lake Michigan to Glen Haven. In 1942 her parents met and fell in love while her mother was a writer/editor at the Leelanau Enterprise and soon after became year-round residents. Grace’s father, Fred, a broker who worked from home, spent his free time photographing the dunes and the islands. One unusual photo shows a cloud the exact size of one of the Manitou Islands, above the island, a rare phenomenon caused by condensation when the temperature of the island is colder than that of the surrounding waters of Lake Michigan.

From an early age, Grace followed in her father’s footsteps, quite literally, accompanying him and sometimes photographing the same scenes. Grace left her studies at Northwestern Michigan College to go on a year-long sailing adventure in the Bahamas, and followed this with a two-decade-sojourn out in Montana where she married a rancher and finished college. Grace returned to the Leelanau Peninsula in the late 1980s and became a mapmaker for the Leelanau County Planning Commission. She began taking photos of the Leelanau Peninsula and opened her own studio out of which she sold her own and her father’s photos and maps. In the mid-1990s she revived the 1930s art of photographic hand-coloring, laboriously hand-tinting her father’s black and white photos of earlier years, photos which evoke the shadows and starkness of some of the photos of Diane Arbus, but as applied to nature, not people. In the medium of hand-coloring Grace discovered a way to keep her father’s legacy alive and express her own love of Leelanau. Her photo studio is on Glenmere (M-22) west of the bridge over the Glen Lake Narrows.

Head over to the Glen Arbor Sun for more! The photo above is labeled as having been taken in Glen Arbor in 1909, but former Leelanau Historical Museum Director Laura Quackenbush identified it as Leland’s dock. The photo was hand-colored by Grace from an old negative on glass found in the Leelanau Enterprise office during the time her parents (briefly) owned it.

If you’re interested in more work bu Grace and her father, head over to Dickinson Photography. I’ve also featured several photos from Fred Dickinson on Michigan in Pictures, and you can click that link to read a little about the coloring process.