Capturing local beauty

News Advocate photo/Eric Sagonowsky

News Advocate photo/Eric Sagonowsky

Book puts region’s beauty to work for community projects

ONEKAMA — It’s common knowledge that Northwest Michigan’s beauty can be captured through great photography, but a group in Onekama is putting the region’s beautiful qualities to work for the good of the community.

Through the sales of the coffee table book titled “1, Photographs and Memories,” Al Taylor and the Portage Lake Association are hoping to raise money for community projects.

“We started this process a little over a year ago,” said Taylor, who is organizing the project. “We asked people on our Facebook page to just send in photos of what they liked about Onekama, Manistee, Arcadia, the region. I expected to get a few photos of sunsets and a couple things like that. I didn’t know I was going to get 500 photographs.

“The photographs tell a story,” Taylor continued. “Of course, they show the natural beauty of the area, but then they started showing people’s relationships with the area.”

Photos were submitted by long-time residents, summer residents and visitors who have had ties to the area, in some cases, for five or six generations, Taylor said. They showcase sunsets, sunrises, ice formations, storms, families and friends and more.

The photo-book showcases the natural features of Portage Lake, Manistee, Arcadia Dunes and others while also noting manmade barns, lighthouses and other structures.

Through Facebook, Taylor picked “crowd favorites” and narrowed the 500 photographs down to 77, and started laying out the pages to the book. The photos showcase all of the seasons in the region, and demonstrate why people love the Onekama area, Taylor said.

All money raised beyond the cost of producing the books will go to the Onekama community and projects such as the fireworks, petunias, scholarships, fall festival and Christmas in
Onekama.

Taylor expects to sell more than 200 books at $50 each, he said. The books are being produced locally at Hokanson’s Camera, by hand, one by one.

“People are quite excited about it,” said Hokanson’s owner William Ferguson. “So many people have their photos in it, or they know someone who has photos in it, and there’s a lot of pride to the people that live up in Onekama. They love that area.”

Ferguson said he should have all of the books done in early August. The program is sponsored through the Portage Lake Association, and Ferguson is donating a portion of his cost in the effort.

“The book looks beautiful,” Ferguson said. “People are really excited about it. We’ve got about 50 of them done, but there are going to be more.

“It does take up some time, but we will get there.”

The book features more than 25 photographers from the region and can be ordered MacBeth’s in Onekama, Lakeside Treats and Hokanson’s Camera. Taylor said a sequel could be possible if there is enough interest.

The book is hardcover, 8.5 by 11 inches and has 46 pages. It can be shipped for an additional cost. A digital preview can be found online at www.onekama.info.

“When people come into the store and see this book, they are just absolutely delighted,” said Kathy Ervin, partner at MacBeth’s. “So many of them have submitted pictures to Al (and) they are very curious to know whether their pictures are in the book. Sometimes they are, so there’s a real pleasure in that.”

So far, Ervin reports that about 50 books have been reserved, and many people are buying them for gifts for friends.

“It’s a very nicely-produced book,” she commented. “It really does capture the seasons, the people and the events that folks remember and cherish most about Onekama.”

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Posted by Eric Sagonowsky