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Perimeter: A Contemporary Portrait of Lake…
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Perimeter: A Contemporary Portrait of Lake Michigan

by Kevin J. Miyazaki

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Beautiful photos of the Lake's neighbors. We come in many shapes, sizes, colors and have a wide variety of jobs, hobbies, interests, and concerns. Pictured here are hikers, fishermen and women, birders, boaters, surfers, actors, Coast Guard, steelworkers, vacationers, swimmers, police officers, professors and wildlife conservationists. I was pleasantly surprised to see my Biology professor pictured here (now retired but looking younger than ever - he is a local fixture on the shore!) as well as one of the directors of the nature preserve that is within sight of my house and where I spend much time hiking and photographing all year round.

While the focus of the book is on the people here, not the Lake itself, and what we are concerned with when it comes to our awesome body of water, not every person photographed gets to express their opinion and those who do only get two or three sentences under their pic. Each person, however, is identified by name and either where they're from, where they were visiting when photographed and their situation (job, retired, student, etc).

In between every handful of people photos is a photo of the Lake, all relatively calm days and, due to the very short timeframe, all warm weather photos. It was a bit disappointing to me that the project didn't extend into winter because the Lake is equally beautiful then, it's still relevant to our lives then, and there are still surprising activities in, on, and around it then. And, even though it's not a "Lake" book but a "people of the Lake" book, there needed to be a photo of the full moon over the Lake and images of the cars lined up on the shoreline on a beautiful summer night just to take in the breathtaking view.

(As a side note, the man who is identified as Frank Ettawageshik, "a Native American leader" who "sang me the Native American water song" is more specifically from the Waganakising Odawak tribe which is part of the Little Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. The song was likely from his people, rather than a song that all indigenous peoples sing.)

I received a copy of this book via the LibraryThing Member Giveaway. My thanks to the photographer and publisher. ( )
  seongeona | May 1, 2016 |
In Perimeter: A Contemporary Portrait of Lake Michigan Kevin J. Miyazaki offers a unique look at Lake Michigan by focusing on the variety of people who use the lake for work, sport and play. The book is almost entirely composed of portraits with two page spreads of the water and sky separating them.

These portraits were taken at the lake but within a small mobile studio he constructed to serve as a consistent plain backdrop. This black background allowed the viewer to look at Lake Michigan through the people rather than the more common view of the people within the backdrop of the larger lake. What this encourages, even forces, the viewer to do is find how the lake is represented through each individual person. As I went through the book the first time (I confess to being one of those who want to see all the photographs as soon as possible to just bathe in the visuals, then I go back and look with more care) I found I was compelled to spend more time than I expected on each photograph than I expected for a first look. These were not simply nature pictures with people in them, which is certainly the norm for most books about a place, even a place as large as Lake Michigan. These portraits allowed the people to remain individuals who bring to light various aspects of Lake Michigan and how it affects the people who live, work or visit her shores.

If you are looking for a book that makes you comment on the beauty of the lake or that gives you the opportunity to say "I've been there" this may not be the book for you. Locations are represented by people. But if you like to remember places you have visited or lived around the lake through the people you met or knew there, then you will recognize these people as being like many you may have encountered. Or perhaps that you hope to encounter at some point. Though their stories are not told in great detail through words, which are few, those few words along with each portrait provide many stories. Part of the fun is noticing details in the portraits and relating it to the short description.

For readers who have not seen much more of the lake than from Milwaukee or Chicago, or any other single spot, this lets you place your relationship with Lake Michigan within the larger panorama of experiences. While my experiences with the lake are from several locations, I was largely a visitor, never living very close for more than a couple years. Yet these portraits brought to mind people I knew from other shorelines, from New England and the Mid-Atlantic region to California. That is, I think, one of the advantages of Miyazaki's approach; the people are specific to Lake Michigan while also being representative of many types of people who are drawn to large bodies of water. This universality of the types of people who frequent shorelines make this a fun book for those who have little or no connection to Lake Michigan.

Reviewed from a copy made available through LibraryThing's Member Giveaways. ( )
  pomo58 | Apr 7, 2016 |
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Book description
Commissioned by the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University to create an artwork reflecting on the importance of freshwater, Milwaukee-based photographer Kevin J. Miyazaki embarked on a two-week, 1,800-mile drive around Lake Michigan. He traveled its perimeter, through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, to produce what he calls "a contemporary portrait of Lake Michigan." Miyazaki set up his portable studio on beaches, in parks, on boat docks, and in backyards, photographing those he met along the way. From residents, environmental scientists, and artists to a Native American water rights advocate, surfers, and commercial fishermen, Lake Michigan holds a powerful place in the life of each. Many shared their thoughts with him on why this body of water is important to all. Miyazaki also photographed the water as he went, creating waterscapes of the ever-changing lake affected by weather and time. Perimeter gathers these images together, creating a diverse portrait of both people and a place, encapsulating Lake Michigan's significance to those who are drawn to it.

"A wonderfully perceptive interrogation of landscape, portraiture, cartography, and place."

-Mary Louise Schumacher, art and architecture critic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0870206761, Hardcover)

Commissioned by the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University to create an artwork reflecting on the importance of freshwater, Milwaukee-based photographer Kevin J. Miyazaki embarked on a two-week, 1,800-mile drive around Lake Michigan. He traveled its perimeter, through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, to produce what he calls “a contemporary portrait of Lake Michigan.” Miyazaki set up his portable studio on beaches, in parks, on boat docks, and in backyards, photographing those he met along the way. From residents, environmental scientists, and artists to a Native American water rights advocate, surfers, and commercial fishermen, Lake Michigan holds a powerful place in the life of each. Many shared their thoughts with him on why this body of water is important to all.
 
Miyazaki also photographed the water as he went, creating waterscapes of the ever-changing lake affected by weather and time. Perimeter gathers these images together, creating a diverse portrait of both people and a place, encapsulating Lake Michigan’s significance to those who are drawn to it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:26 -0400)

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Kevin J. Miyazaki's book Perimeter: A Contemporary Portrait of Lake Michigan was available from LibraryThing Member Giveaway.

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