The Inn on Ferry Street

In early 2011 my good friend and design colleague Mike Savitski at Savitski Design made me an offer that I didn't want to refuse: take my camera down to a block of wonderfully restored Victorian-era mansions on Ferry Street in downtown Detroit and take as many interior and exterior photos as I could. They would be used in a book he was in the process of designing for the owners of the buildings, which are collectively known as the Inn on Ferry Street.

The book was published at the end of 2011, and over twenty of my photos made the final cut, including the photo on the left-hand page above (the cover photo is by another photographer). Mike found out last week that the book, printed by University Lithoprinters, will receive an Addy Award at the annual Ann Arbor Ad Club party in early February.

A selection of the photos I took can be seen in the Architecture section of the Photography portfolio:


Birds on the Ground

I suppose I inherited my father's love of aircraft; a favorite topic of his was his boyhood fascination with the Ford Trimotor, and its role in the expedition of Richard Byrd to the South Pole in 1929. My initial exposure to modern jet aircraft of the post-World War II era was through the many plastic scale models my brother Tom built in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

I was enamored with the model airplanes in part because they represented the up-to-date strength of the U.S. military, which had dispatched our foes in WWII and then Korea just a few years earlier; I was hardly the only American boy who was enthralled with the stories of the war, and many of the fathers of my friends had served in the armed forces during the conflict.

That doesn't explain the totality of my love for the plastic planes as well as the real items, though: I simply loved the way they looked. Their sculptural form, their metallic sheathing (even if simulated in plastic), the rivets and other construction elements, their identification markings, the way they looked taking off and landing—all of it was visual catnip to me. It still is, and I've attended a number of air shows over the last decade at the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, and also at Selfridge AF base. While the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, C-130s, B-17s, B-2s, B-1Bs and B-117s that have done flybys or extended demonstrations have been awe-inspiring, capturing compelling images of those craft in the air has always been a frustrating and fruitless task; if anything, it's detracted from the enjoyment of simply watching them.

For me, the real photographic joy begins with the static displays on the tarmac of the visiting craft, and with the historic craft on permanent display at the Yankee Air Museum. I have near total control over composition, and am free to focus on the whole form, abstract views, or small details; the only drawback is having to wait for other spectators to clear the field of view.

Over the last several years I've taken hundreds of shots of all manner of aircraft, from pre-WWII piston engine biplanes to Korean War-era MIGs to the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor. The photos above were taken at two different events at Willow Run. As I get time, I'll be posting more images in the photography section.

And yes, the image of the mannequin in the cockpit is creepy.




One of the most comically compelling Shakespearian characters is Sir John Falstaff, the charming, scheming rogue at the center of the farcical events in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Falstaff, the operatic adaptation by composer Giuseppe Verdi and librettist Arrigo Boito, is one of the fall 2011 productions by the University Opera Theatre.

The antlers play a role in the final scene; Falstaff has been tricked into wearing them by one of the married women he is trying to seduce, and is subsequently mocked and humiliated as his elaborate plans to swindle the women unravel, naturally to much hilarity and merriment.



Human Rights, Social Justice, and Public Health

The field of public health has historically been concerned with on-the-ground issues such as the safety of drinking water or how specific diseases spread in populations, and the solutions to these    kinds of public health problems can consist       of straightforward improvements in infrastructure or organized vaccination campaigns. However, there are also public health problems that are directly tied to human rights abuses and social injustice, and Findings magazine examines this aspect of public health in the Spring/Summer 2011 issue.

The search for effective solutions to the problems of environmental pollution in Guatemala, the lack of accessible medical care in Haiti, or the horrific epidemic of rape in Congo cannot be carried out in isolation from the social and political problems in those countries, and this issue of Findings tells the stories of UM School of Public Health alumni, faculty, and researchers who are working in a wide variety of ways to improve the lives of people in those and other countries around the world.

The cover article details the heroic efforts of Dr. Denis Mukwege, the Congolese physician and surgeon who has devoted several years to treating the many thousands of women who have been raped as a weapon of war during the protracted conflict in Congo. Mukwege was awarded the Wallenberg Medal of Honor by the University of Michigan in 2010 in recognition of his work.


The Nam Center for Korean Studies

The University of Michigan Korean Studies Program was founded in 1995 with the help of UM faculty, the UM International Institute, students, Korean-American alumni, and the Korea Foundation. One of the major benefactors of the Program was UM alumnus Elder Sang-Yong Nam, and with his wife Moon-Sook Nam helped build it to a level of national prominence, and it was elevated to UM Center status in 2007. In late 2010 it was formally re-inaugurated as the Nam Center for Korean Studies, and this new brochure reflects the name change. The image on the cover was created by Korean artist Suh Gong Im, and is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Korean folk image of the tiger.