Blog: The Concentrate Team

Concentrate wants to change the conversation about Washtenaw County. It's very easy to criticize what's wrong.  But we believe it's just as easy to learn from what's right. So, who are "we?" Over the next week this blog will introduce you to the people and ideas behind Concentrate.

Post No. 4: Dave Lewinski Lewinski grew up in metro Detroit.  He has attended Wayne State University and the  Hallmark Institute of Photography (Turners Falls, MA) in order to gain a better understanding of what it takes to be a photographer. It has been his honor to assist photographers Balthazar Korab and Justin Maconochie.  In addition to regularly contributing to Hour Detroit Magazine he has worked for Metro Times, Real Detroit Weekly, Detroit Home, and DBusiness.

He is the managing photographer for

How I See It

On occasion I run into an former classmate when I am working out-of-state.  We always start out with a synopsis of what we've each been doing since high school. The inevitable  question always arises; "Why did you stay in Michigan?".

As a young person in the creative field I also get this question asked by fellow photographers in different markets. They all seem to assume that there are better options elsewhere. I find myself frequently defending my decision to stay.

I can tell you I stayed for many reasons: I enjoy the challenge. I love my family and my roots are already planted here. I love vacationing in northern Michigan. Southeast Michigan is an easy place to network, which is essential to have in my career.

So what does Ann Arbor and its surrounding areas have to offer me? That is how my generation tends to think; 'what do I get out of this deal?'. Having lived in southeast Michigan almost all my life I feel I have a pretty good idea what I 'get' from residing here.

There are many hurdles to jump in Michigan right now but I love the challenge. It's one of the primary reasons I have become a photographer --the daily challenge. Whether it's a tight editorial deadline or difficult lighting situations or figuring out my taxes, I am constantly tested by my job. Getting Concentrate off the ground was a particularly unique challenge (I haven't ever had anyone ask me to make convincing images of so many different places in the middle of a Michigan winter).

As the grey ceiling begins to lift and the sun just doesn't peak out but begins to warm, the people return to the streets. Offering a fresh perspective of Ann Arbor area is one of the most important things I'd like to address in my photography. I'd like to show our community for what it really is. We aren't always perceived by people outside the county as the most down-to-earth people. We're seen more Bohemian than bourgeois. I'd like my images to counter that perception.

It's a substantial responsibility to capture what is actually happening in a community. Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have all the great qualities of college towns ...and that is typically how they are represented. I'd like to get past that. My goal is to show you things in the city you've passed countless times before but never really noticed: The people, the neighborhoods and the green spaces.

I was afforded this very same experience when I was asked to photograph in Dexter, Chelsea, Saline and Milan. They all have so much to offer that I had never noticed before. I'm hoping you will see something new and UNEXPECTED on Concentrate.

When I am out taking photos in the Ann Arbor area, I see how much is actually happening here. I would rather be part of something that is happening instead of something that has already happened. That's the great thing about this region, there's still some work to do but there is a terrific infrastructure.

Michigan offers a wide variety of perks for staying and the Ann Arbor area is amongst the best places to take advantage of them.