L’Atelier Ldep Gallery and Art Consulting is proud to announce it’s next pop up exhibition for 2015 in Corktown, Detroit Michigan at the Two James Spirits.
Jon DeBoer is a photographer and graphic designer living and working in Metro Detroit, Michigan. His background in graphic design and interest in architecture has strongly influenced his approach to photography. Jon began exploring the city of Detroit with a camera in 2009 and has been photographing the evolving urban landscape ever since.
Initially his early work focused on capturing the abandoned side of the city in color. However, he was soon inspired to shift his focus to show a different side of the city after witnessing renewal efforts in Detroit.
“Right now is a really important time to photograph Detroit’s architecture. As the city is experiencing so much change and growth, many of its buildings are being torn down or going through dramatic renovations.”
Jon’s new work, and his solo exhibition simply titled DETROIT communicate his vision of the city, but also convey the moods or emotions he experiences while photographing the city. Predominantly shot in black and white and using long exposures, his images showcase the beauty of Detroit’s architecture that has been overlooked or forgotten by many.
His images, which are usually captured in the late afternoon or early evening light, highlight the bold contrasts between the light and shadow. In his work you see an individual who has a love affair with the streets and architecture of Detroit, a city that he finds both mysterious and beautiful.
Detroit is a city where so much of its history can be seen through its buildings, a city that has stark contrasts between vacant and populated, decay and developed. Whether it’s an abandoned silo or stadium or a newly renovated art deco building, Jon’s images capture the beauty of the past and the hope for a brighter future of a great city and its people.
“Detroit and its residents have withstood a lot of adversity, but it is that tough spirit that makes Detroit such an interesting, unique city to photograph. I love shooting Detroit’s buildings, but the people I have met in the city have made a lasting impact on me. Nearly everyone I’ve met in Detroit shares the same passion for the city and is hopeful for a brighter future.”
Jon exhibited his work with Exposure Detroit in 2010 and 2012. His work was also featured in multiple exhibits at Studio Couture Detroit in 2010-11. In 2012, Jon received 1st place in the Architecture: Cityscapes category of the International Photography Awards (IPA)
In May 2014, Jon’s work was featured in Novum: World of Graphic Design magazine. Jon will debut his work for L’Atelier Ldep Gallery at the Two James Distillery this summer in Corktown, Detroit.
Two James Spirits is located in Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, and is the first licensed distillery in Detroit since Prohibition. Two James is committed to producing only the highest quality environmentally conscious handmade spirits utilizing locally sourced agricultural products with the aim of revitalizing the community and reinforcing the craft product movement.
Exhibition Opening: Sunday 28th June 2015 6pm-10pm
On view from June 28th-September 1st 2015
The Pop Up Exhibition is located at the Two James Spirits
2445 Michigan Avenue Detroit, MI 48216
Brief interview with artist Jon DeBoer
When did you first become interested in Photography?
I first became interested in photography through film and digital photography courses as part of my graphic design education at Lawrence Technological University in 2008. Soon after, I became interested in the history and architecture of the city of Detroit and felt compelled to explore the city with my camera.
What was your first camera?
Technically, my first camera was a cheap point and shoot Sony Cybershot that I used to photograph various objects for my graphic design work. However, my first DSLR was a Nikon D80. I learned the basics of photography and most of the techniques I use today through that camera.
Who are your influences?
I’m inspired by Michael Kenna’s landscape work, Trent Parke’s street photography, Brassai’s noir images, Gregory Crewdson’s cinematic photography, and the architectural photography of Balthazar Korab, to name a few.
Why do you like to shoot mostly in Black and white?
I’m typically not drawn to photograph a scene for the color; I’m usually looking at the lines, geometry, light, shadow, and atmosphere of a scene. Black and white allows me to highlight the elements of a photograph that I’m focusing on without the distraction of color. I am still occasionally drawn to color, however I think I’m able to more accurately share my artistic vision through black and white photography.
How does your background in graphic design influence your work?
It was a natural progression to move into photography from graphic design since they are so closely related. The use of grids and layout in graphic design has directly influenced my approach to composition in photography, and is a big part of why I focus on strong lines, patterns, symmetry and repetition when I am shooting. My background in design also influenced me to explore and develop a graphic approach to photography with strong contrasts. This soon led me to explore stylistic elements from old film noir movies and graphic novels and eventually led to my “Digital Noir” night series.
Why is your current focus on Architecture? What is it about this subject that most interests you?
I have been interested and inspired by architecture for quite some time and have been drawn to photograph buildings since I started doing photography. However I think it became my main focus when I purchased a wide-angle lens, which enabled me to capture buildings how I had always wanted to capture them. I initially considered majoring in Architecture but soon switched to graphic design and realized I was better suited for photographing buildings than designing them. I decided that I wanted to not only document, but also showcase the beauty of Detroit’s architecture that has been overlooked or forgotten by many. I’ve realized that right now is a really important time to photograph Detroit’s architecture. As the city is experiencing so much change and growth, many of its buildings are being torn down or going through dramatic renovations. While I still occasionally photograph decaying buildings, recently I have been more focused on showcasing the beauty of the buildings that are used everyday by Detroit’s residents and workers. I love photographing Detroit’s architecture because so much of the city’s history can been seen through its buildings. There are so many unique details, especially in the Art Deco era skyscrapers, which are unlike any modern day buildings.
What do you find most interesting about photographing Detroit?
I have always found the stark contrasts in Detroit to be very interesting: contrasts between vacant and populated, decay and development, etc. and how close together these contrasts are. Seeing mostly vacant blocks only a block or two away from mansions is surprising at first, but you get used to seeing those sorts of contrasts once you start exploring the city. However, the most exciting part about photographing Detroit in recent years has been witnessing the growth and renewal efforts. It is a great feeling to be able to photograph occupied historic buildings that were vacant and decaying only a couple years before when I first photographed them.
What is your favorite time of day to shoot and do you have a favorite location?
I love to shoot the late afternoon/evening light but night photography is probably my favorite. Most of my shots were taken after 5pm until as early as 5am. It’s really difficult to pick a favorite location in Detroit, however I always seem to return to Belle Isle to just relax and grab a couple shots.
Is there any location that you would like to shoot that you haven’t?
There are countless locations in cities outside of Detroit that I hope to explore someday. In Detroit, I would love to be able to shoot inside the industrial areas of Zug Island and River Rouge, and the salt mines underneath the city.
What do you love about Detroit?
I love the unique historic architecture we have in Detroit. Although I didn’t grow up in the city, I still feel a strong personal connection to the city of Detroit. I feel at home when I’m out shooting the city. I was raised in Port Huron an hour outside of Detroit, but my dad worked out of the Delray neighborhood in Detroit and grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. Some of my earliest memories of Detroit are of passing through the gritty, industrial area of Delray on the way to visit my dad’s work. I moved to the suburbs of Detroit after high school to attend Lawrence Tech University in Southfield, and began to explore the city of Detroit a couple years later when I picked up a camera. Detroit is a gritty, strong city and its residents share that same resilience. Detroit and its residents have withstood a lot of adversity, but it is that tough spirit that makes Detroit such an interesting, unique city to photograph. I love shooting Detroit’s buildings, but the people I have met in the city have made a lasting impact on me. Nearly everyone I’ve met in Detroit shares the same passion for the city and is hopeful for a brighter future.
Describe an ideal day in Detroit?
A nice, cloudy day for some architectural long exposures downtown and a trip to Belle Isle followed by some rooftop night shots…I would hopefully find time to visit one of Detroit’s many great restaurants at some point during the day. But really, I just love to wander the city anytime.
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