Creativity blooms in documentary exhibit

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Students impress pro photographer with a fresh, artistic look at Storm Lake through their lenses

Storm Lake has been captured by Buena Vista University photographers who took part in the Midwest Documentary Project class led over interim by Twin Cities professional photographer Kendra Mack.

Businesses and employees and even the random people and everyday sights of Storm Lake were captured at their finest, viewed as fine art by a fresh eye.

The fabulous photos are on display at the former Coffee Plus building at 210 E. 5th Street, behind Heritage Bank, through March 1. Viewing of the photographs may be enjoyed during Heritage Bank's daily hours.

The Midwest Documentary Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation dedicated to getting college students involved in photographing their local communities, using their camera as a way to get involved and to create a photographic record of the Midwest today.

Mack plans to allow students at other colleges and universities the chance to do the same thing - BVU students were fortunate to be the first to be offered this opportunity.

"There is some fabulous work," said Mack who was in Storm Lake throughout the annual J-term at BVU this winter.

The works on display depict many of the downtown businesses in a "Main Street" element of the project, which will be a fond reminder years down the road of character of the local business communities, their owners/employees and even down to what the businesses looked like inside.

"I'm so impressed," the excited Mack said of her young charges' work.

"This project serves two purposes. I hope they (photographers) have come away with a feeling of a relationship with the community. I also hope they see that photography is a great tool to go see what there is in the world."

Each photo tells a story, she said. "The (subjects in the photos) are in their own environments, with their things around them. That speaks to the people in a strong way. In 50 years, these will be cool to have."

Depending on funding available, Mack hopes that the photos can be published in a book for Storm Lakers to keep forever.

There were 15 students in the ground-breaking photography class; photos by all students are on display.

* Check out additional photos and find out more information about this project at