Ionia Again

A few weeks ago I spent a bit of time photographing in Ionia, Michigan, which is about 45 minutes east of Grand Rapids. It has some gorgeous old buildings, some of them built with stone quarried nearby. Last weekend I decided to go back and spend a bit more time there.

As I look at these images, it struck me that they remind me a bit of city and small town postcards from the 1920s that were shot as black and whites and colorized. They were, I assume, done by local chambers of commerce to promote the economies of these towns and cities. I’ve been processing my images of small towns with loosely Polaroid looks from the 1970s in mind. But the postcard collections in the archives I oversee also inspired me, perhaps. (For example, check out this one from Holland, MI.)

Here are a few of my favorite images from last weekend.

First, a few images of buildings from the turn-of-the-century. (The one a bit more than a century ago!) The stone is beautiful, particularly on the beige building in the middle. The recent renovations, refacing the low building in the right, doubtless is functional, but without the beauty of the older stone faces of the other buildings. I love the business in that building, which offers an escape room experience and ax throwing! The image that follows is a set of doors across the street, showing the green building reflecting in the windows.

In my previous post of images from Ionia, I included an image with the Smith & Graff building. I love its mix of class small town Midwest features with ornateĀ Italian elements (in the metal cornices and fancy window hoods) common in Victorian architecture.

One more image of a building. In this case, it was not just the building that drew my camera eye, but the horizontal lines of strip of grass, the street, and sidewalk in contrast to the vertical lines of the windows. The clouds, too, are great.

This image is a statue of a woman holding a scale representing justice, atop the ornate courthouse in Ionia. In this one justice is not blindfolded (representing the the ideal of impartiality), as is common. A clear-eyed figure also seems appropriate to me–i.e., justice based on careful, clear-eye assessment of evidence and circumstances.

Finally, two images of reflections in windows. The first one is OK. The reflection of the metal bird inside the building caught my eye with that one. The second is my favorite image from last week. I tried with several buildings to match up the opposite side of the street with the mirrored reflection in the windows. This one was the best. The gorgeous clouds also made the shot.

I’ll be out again this weekend, but I’m not yet sure where. Wherever I go, wherever you are if you’re in the U.S., I hope we all enjoy a good Memorial Day weekend.

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