The goal for Todd and Brad Reed ’00 in their new book, Todd and Brad Reed’s Michigan: Wednesdays in the Mitten, is to “just let Michigan tell its own story.”
“Michigan abounds with beauty,” said Todd Reed. “It’s in basically everybody’s backyard.”
So it was in the “backyards” of Michigan that Brad and father Todd Reed trekked—some 30,000 miles in all—on all 53 Wednesdays in 2014.
The result is a stunning look at the Great Lakes State: 250 images presented on a large scale. From the northernmost locale in Michigan—Isle Royale National Park—to Rochester, on the southeastern side of the state, and so many points in between, the photos represent the expected and no-so-expected places in the state.
“Both of us are good listeners,” said Todd Reed. “We ask the experts, the locals who know a place best. People in Michigan are extremely proud of their state.”
“We found a lot of places from maps drawn on the back of a napkin at a local coffee shop,” added Brad.
Brad figures half of his photos were taken from wandering and half from destinations he had planned. “Even in the obvious places, the photos aren’t as much about what I set out to shoot, but what Michigan presented,” he said. “A lot of what I previsualized didn’t make the cut because I found something more phenomenal.”
Such was the case for the Grand Island ice caves images that the Reeds shot in late March. “That was a
“We felt like we stepping into God’s art studio as we entered a glowing world of intricately sculpted green and white ice,” they wrote in the book’s introduction.
They were equally inspired by their first trip to Isle Royale National Park. “Now that we’ve done it, we want to be Isle Royale’s biggest cheerleader,” said Todd.
“It’s one of the least visited, but most revisited national parks,” added Brad.
The book, selected from more than 30,000 images (that’s an average of almost 600 photos per day), also highlights each photographer’s specialty.
“My cup of tea is the detail. People say it’s because I’m short, and I’m closer to the detail,” Brad said with a smile. I think it’s just the part of creation that really fascinates me.
“My dad is more like the landscape artist,” he said. “I think it all works together.”
Another new angle to this book are some underwater shots, creating breathtaking looks of waves and what’s beneath in Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
“We really like to show people fresh views,” said Brad. “People ask, ‘Don’t you get bored shooting the same things over and over?’ But really every shot is something different and new.”
The book also includes stunning close-ups of a hummingbird, a snowy owl, an osprey, an elk, an eagle and other Michigan wildlife.
The Reeds made no compromises in this project, according to Brad. “We made the book we always dreamed of making,” he said. The 224-page, 18½-inch book opens to more than 36 inches for some of the horizontal views. “You can really feel Michigan in this book. There’s at least one photo of the 250 that I’m pretty sure will move you, and it might be an unexpected surprise.”
Lynn Rosendale is managing editor of Spark.