“Michigan’s winters are magical to me,” asserts John McCormick, a lifelong Michigander based in Montcalm County who’s been smitten by the Great Lakes’ diverse forests and rivers, large wetlands, rocky ridges and sand dune shorelines for over three decades. “The frozen landscape, the solitude, breathing the crisp air: Nowhere in the United States will you find an area that more reflects the dramatic seasonal changes.”
“The winter ice formations on Lake Michigan are always changing, always new,” observes Marge Beaver, owner of Photography Plus in Muskegon, whose sole focus has been aerial photography for more than 25 years. “Like the clouds in the sky, they never look quite the same from one flight to the next.”
“I live by a large floodplain of the Clinton River in Sterling Heights,” says photographer Mark Graf. “A lot of pond areas freeze over and offer up these fleeting, always changing scenes. My ice abstracts and much of my work reflect my appreciation of a quote from Claude Monet: ‘To see, we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at.’”
Graf explains that he removes the normal color tones in the normal appearance of ice to emphasize that abstraction and promote imagination. “It’s recognition of not only how interesting and beautiful winter ice can be,” he says, “but of what else it can be.”
“This is not ice, but an assembly of order and chaos.
This is not ice, but a depiction of environment.
This is not ice, but where water fractals meet.
This is not ice, but a bubble fortress surrounded by a shard army.
This is not ice, but the decorated roof of winter hibernation.
This is not ice, but a treasure found in the woods.
This is not ice, tomorrow.
This is not ice, if we don’t want it to be.”
— Mark Graf