2012-08-23 / Community

‘Perimeter’ focuses on people of Great Lakes


Manistique residents John and Eunice Walker were just two of the many individuals Kevin Miyazaki had the opportunity to photograph on his quest to meet those who reside and work on the perimeter of Lake Michigan. 
Photo courtesy of Kevin J. Miyazaki Manistique residents John and Eunice Walker were just two of the many individuals Kevin Miyazaki had the opportunity to photograph on his quest to meet those who reside and work on the perimeter of Lake Michigan. Photo courtesy of Kevin J. Miyazaki MANISTIQUE – Perimeter was a project commissioned by the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, which invited Kevin Miyazaki to create new work addressing the topic of fresh water and the Great Lakes. He chose to examine Lake Michigan, which holds great presence in his community of Milwaukee, and borders the four states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. It’s the largest lake contained solely within the United States and the fifth largest lake in the world.

Lake Michigan’s significance as a source of fresh water has never been more important in political, social and environmental terms. In Milwaukee, the lake has been the impetus for growth in academic, environmental and business interests, as the city positions itself as a hub for knowledge and growth in the area fresh water research.

Perimeter, a photography-based project, was aimed at capturing a contemporary portrait of the lake by photographing everyday people whose lives are closest to it. Miyazaki photographed a diverse group of individuals who all had connections to the lake: residents, beach-goers, scientists, dock workers, environmentalists, artists, community leaders, commercial fishermen, ferry captains, boat builders and surfers.

The majority of portraits were made during a two-week, 1,800 mile drive around the lake’s perimeter. He traveled with a portable studio, constructed with pvc pipe and black velvet, which he set up on beaches and in parks, on boat docks and in back yards. Sometimes he photographed groups of individuals in the same location, and other times he set up to photograph just one person. There were some specific, compelling subjects he identified in advance, but most in the project were people he simply met while traveling, and always within eyeshot of the lake.

Miyazaki asked all the subjects if they could answer two questions. This was the response received from John and Eunice Walker of Manistique.

1. What draws you to Lake Michigan? The top of Lake Michigan is one of the most pristine and enjoyable places left in the great lakes areas. You can still take walk in the early morning and maybe see eagles coasting along the shoreline and watch the sun rise out of the water off to the east.

2. What about the Lake matters most to you? Just keeping it like it is for those coming along after us to walk along and enjoy like we have. I think this can be one of the greatest gifts those of my generation could leave for those walking in our footsteps years from now.

Perimeter will be exhibited at the Haggerty Museum of Art from Jan. 16 - May 19, 2013.

Information about the project can be found at www.kevinmiyazaki.com/perimeter.

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