Mainstream - Reflections on the Milwaukee River
By Jeff Weber
13 Sep 2008
I grew up in Wisconsin near the Milwaukee River. A large portion of my childhood was spent wandering the river banks exploring what nature had to offer. Now, as an architect and photographer, I continue to wander its shores exploring what the city now has to offer.
"Mainstream" examines the delicate connection between the Milwaukee River and the rich architectural environment that has evolved along its banks. The river, once a lifeline for shipping and industry, is now a magnet for tourism and development. All of this activity along the river, although vibrant and beautiful, puts a tremendous strain on this vital resource. Care must be taken to protect the river for the future benefit of all.
The intent of this project is to bring awareness to the beauty that surrounds the river and hopefully make people more aware of protecting the environment, even in the middle of a busy city. The challenge was capturing the elusive reflections of the city on the river's constantly changing surface. The condition of the water changes constantly. No ripple or wave is ever the same, making each image unique. The abstract nature of the photographs emphasizes the fragile balance between nature and human endeavor.
In my photographs I often incorporate architectural elements. They are an inevitable part of the world we live in, yet many times we take our surroundings for granted. I offer a personal perspective and reflect light on the details that often go overlooked as we go about our daily lives.
Scouting a potential image can take hours, days, or even weeks, returning to the same place several times hoping for just the right lighting and composition. For me, this exploration is as important as the photograph itself. Using the ambient light and the shadows created by the buildings and structures, I try to coax out the color and detail only nature can provide.