Photographs of Michigan’s sprawling coastlines are the focus of a new exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), Michigan’s Great Lakes: Photographs by Jeff Gaydash open from November 16, 2019 through May 3, 2020. In his images of Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior as well as Lake St. Clair and the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers, Gaydash’s large, black-and-white photographs display timeless and ethereal views of these shorelines unlike anything seen or photographed by the average tourist. This exhibition is free with museum admission, which is free for residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.
This intimate exhibition of 17 oversized photographic prints include some panoramic views over six feet in length, giving visitors the opportunity to experience moments in time captured by the Detroit-area artist, along with his observations. According to Gaydash, these images are far from a typical “great day at the beach,” as Gaydash traveled to locations during the off-season and often in harsh weather conditions. He considers his photographs collaborations with nature, created through long exposures that can leave the lens open up to 30 minutes, as opposed to the quick lens flutter of a standard picture. Through this manipulation of light, the resulting images transform land, water and horizon into seamless compositions rendered in silvery charcoal tones and on a scale reminiscent of a painting or a still scene from a cinematic film.
“Jeff has re-invigorated and advanced the art of black-and-white photography by manipulating scale and tonality through his adept knowledge of custom monochromatic archival inks, printing papers and digital technology,” said Nancy Barr, DIA’s Curator of Photography. “His printing expertise is unparalleled in the field as is his personal connection to the outdoors and his sensitivity for the continuum of time and nature as it is found in the extant beauty of Michigan. Jeff has a unique ability to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar to those of us who have experienced the sublime nature of Michigan and its Great Lakes firsthand.”
The DIA invites individuals to submit their own photographs of the Great Lakes using the hashtag #MyGreatLakesattheDIA on Instagram. A selection of submissions will be printed and included in a special location within the exhibition.