Tag Archives: Detroit Photographer

Detroit Artist: Jason Clemens

For Detroit photographer Jason Clemens, he just loves to be outside. If he’s got a camera in his hand, that’s a bonus.


Jason has a certain passion for the outdoors, especially for Michigan’s beautiful seasons. He even calls his photography “hunting with a camera” since he’s always searching for the perfect outdoor shot.


Seasons of Change



Jason began seriously taking photos after he was gifted a Canon in 2012. He’s since elevated his hobby to a passion project, capturing everything in nature that he could.


He loves shooting images of birds and animals and exploring the same place in different seasons. The seasons give the same locations a different perspective, he says. Find him out at sunrise or sunset, seeking out what others don’t see in nature.


In Detroit, he especially loves photographing the marina and Detroit River when he’s downtown. The skyline and cityscape has changed so much in recent years, evolving the Detroit Riverfront as it changes, and that’s what he enjoys conveying through his images.


Sharing Detroit



Jason started becoming a Detroit influencer when he created an Instagram account for his photography portfolio. Immediately it was a way to connect with other passionate artists and share what they and experience through their camera.


The hashtag #ShareDetroit is full of Jason’s images, and he regularly interacts with the users of that hashtag. His Instagram handle is also @Share_Detroit.


A Familial Connection


Jason plays catch with his son at Comerica Park.


Jason not only loves pursuing photography because it’s a way to take his mind off his full-time job, but because his father was also an active photographer, and loving telling stories through photos.


“My dad passed away before I turned three years old, but he still managed to instill so much of his personality and passions in me in that short time,” said Jason.


Photography is a beautiful connection between Jason and his dad, and one that is only growing as Jason gets older.


Follow along as Jason shares his favorite Detroit outdoors photos on the GMRENCEN’s Instagram over the next two weeks.


Jason Clemens lives in Farmington Hills. See more of his work on Instagram @Share_Detroit.

Artist Spotlight: James Gates

We’ve all been there – when your phone battery dies because you’ve been using it to take photos. That happened to Detroit photographer James Gates so often, that he decided to finally put down his iPhone and pick up a DSLR camera.


Washington, D.C.



James traveled to Washington D.C. in 2014 and brought his new camera along with him. He loved taking photos of the statues, historical buildings and moments that the area had to offer. He showed the trip images to a coworker, who is a professional photographer, after he returned from the trip and the coworker was quite impressed. This coworker recommended James start taking photos professionally, and James took that to heart – he’s loved it ever since.


His Perfect Shot



For the past four years James has spent his free time walking the Detroit Riverfront and downtown metropolis searching for the perfect shot.


He especially loves shooting around sunset, and the time just after sunset, affectionately called “the blue hour.” He loves everything about it – the light, how the city glows, capturing how the clouds streak the sky.


James has also been playing around with long exposures recently, capturing hundreds of photos and merging them into one photo in time. He likes these photos best, and works only a bit on his computer to enhance each photograph afterward.


An Escape



Although James would love to make photography his day to day work, he uses it as an escape more than anything.


“There’s something about exploring the city and always finding something new. It’s so relaxing to me, it’s a great way to decompress and have fun. There’s really nothing like capturing a great shot and seeing things in a way you’ve never seen them before,” James said.



James is also a previous winner of our Your Photo Here Contest, and you can find his artwork on Level 2, Tower 200, inside the GMRENCEN.


Follow the GMRENCEN on Instagram to see James highlight his favorite downtown locations.


James Gates lives in Detroit and is a legally blind photographer. See his work on his Instagram at @james.m.gates or check out his online portfolio at jgatesphotography.com.  

Artist Spotlight: Alanna St. Laurent

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a drone! If you happen to see a drone camera around downtown Detroit, there’s a good chance it belongs to local photographer Alanna St. Laurent.


The Detroit artist is always trying out innovative and new ways to take photographs, and drone photography has recently captured her passion.


Up in the Air



Alanna’s GMRENCEN Instagram takeover will focus on her drone photography, highlighting different parts of the Detroit skyline – a medium she’s started exploring since it was invented. She’s looking for different vantage points to find new detail in her images as her camera hovers hundreds of feet above street level.


She learned the trade from friends, but that’s not to say it’s an easy skill to pick up. Like with anything, there’s a learning curve when it comes to drone photography.


“It’s a whole different playing field up there. You can take pictures straight down from where the drone is, an entire 90 percent angle, or you can focus the camera up 30 degrees for the shot you want. It’s taken a bit of time but I’m enjoying exploring the skyline with the drone. There are so many possibilities with it,” Alanna said.


She particularly loves flying the drones near the tops of tall skyscrapers – especially Detroit towers that were built in the 1920s. With her drone, she can zoom in on technical, architectural and artistic features at the crown of each building – a scene that would be nigh impossible without a drone.


Professional Career



Alanna started taking photography classes when she was an advisor at the College for Creative Studies in 2007 and fell in love with the medium. That passion has never left her, and she regularly explores Detroit, and the country, searching for new ways to “see” a scene, skyline or setting.


She now sells print copies of her photographs on her website and features her images at rotating art fairs in and around Metro Detroit.


Alanna thinks of abandoned buildings as “the Wild West” because no building is ever the same, and she never knows what she’s going to find. She now leads photography workshops in and around Detroit. The forward-thinking photographer’s sessions are designed for newly burgeoning photographers as they learn the trade and focus with architectural and cityscape photography. The workshops also bring local photographers together to capture some of Detroit’s most photographic events.


She’s grown her industry reputation over the years and now is a full-time photographer, and leads her own business, which was always a goal of hers.


Follow Alanna over the next two weeks on our Instagram as she shows us Detroit from the sky.


Alanna St. Laurent lives in Ferndale. Follow her on Instagram at @alannastlaurentphoto or visit her online portfolio at alannastlaurent.com to see Detroit through her lens.

Artist Spotlight: Lou Peeples

When you think of Detroit, what comes to mind? Undoubtedly, it’s different for everyone – every person experiences the city differently.


Do you have happy memories celebrating the Detroit Tigers win at Comerica Park? Biting into a Lafayette Coney Island Coney dog? Or perhaps you think of watching the Thanksgiving Parade roll down Woodward Ave on Thanksgiving Day.


When Lou Peeples imagines Detroit, all he sees is “my city.” The city that he loves to photograph and tell stories about through his images. He explores his city through his camera lens, often in the early morning hours of the day, because no one else is awake at that time. There are no cars or people walking the city at 5 or 6 a.m., and he captures a city paused in time.


Half Artist, Half Tech Fan



A self-described “technology geek,” Lou loves photography because it satisfies his technology interests just as much as his artistic side.


“I really enjoy using different equipment and trying different lenses for certain shots. I’ve been playing with long exposures where the camera can capture a photo for up to 20 or 30 seconds. Taking those kinds of shots at night are some of my favorite to play around with.”


Along with enjoying advancing technical elements of his camera, he’s along learned to love editing in post. Finding ways to enhance certain elements of his photographs are better ways of telling their story.


Evolution as a Photographer



While he loves capturing the city devoid of people, cars and signs of everyday life, Lou also is expanding his portfolio by capturing “street photography” images. These photos are shot while he walks the city throughout the day, capturing people in a moment in time, a snippet of their life.


Lou also describes himself as an eclectic photographer, going to a certain area in the city and shooting whatever strikes him in the moment – inspiration can hit any time.


Lou Peeples lives in Grosse Pointe. Follow him on Instagram at @loupeeples_photography or see his online portfolio at Pointe Photography.

Artist Spotlight: Christopher Hollis

When Christopher Hollis was gifted his first professional camera in 2009, he didn’t know how much it would impact his life for years to come.


Eight years later, he now owns and operates his own photography business, VIII/VIII Photography, and is making a name for himself in the Detroit photography scene.


Up and Coming


Pictured: Christopher Hollis.

Although he was always more-than-adept with a handheld camera, Chris was gifted his first professional-grade camera when he moved to California in 2009. He took advantage of Northern California’s outdoor-centric lifestyle and spent time capturing the Bay Area’s vast array of mountains, waterways and greenery.


With a move back to Detroit, Chris still focuses on the landscapes and cityscapes that he’s prized since the beginning of his career. But his photography has matured as he has; Chris’ photos now focus on composition and framing, and he has a particular interest in symmetry within architecture.


“I love when people see a photo of something they know well or maybe see every day but then see something new in the photograph. The details, and uncovering those secrets, are what is so intriguing to me,” said Chris.


Capturing a Moment


Image by Christpher Hollis.

Chris especially loves capturing snapshots in time without the focus of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Spot him in the early morning hours around Eastern Market, taking photos of the well-known murals, with only his headphones and camera. He typically goes out with a vague outline of what he wants to capture, like the sunrise, or sunset, but doesn’t limit himself in the subject matter – inspiration often strikes him in the moment.


Instagram Takeover


Image by Christopher Hollis.

Chris has graciously been the first photographer taking over the GMRENCEN’s Instagram. Luckily, he’s extremely familiar with the building – as a native Detroiter he’s partial to the Detroit skyline, but he’s also worked inside the GMRENCEN for the last five years.


He’s decided to focus on the interior architecture and symmetry of the building throughout his takeover. Follow the GMRENCEN on Instagram for Chris’ take on the building’s intricate network of walkways and windows.


Chris Hollis lives in Detroit. Follow him on Instagram at @vii_vii_photography or Facebook at @VII/VII Photography to see Detroit through his lens.

Detroit Artist: Nadir Ali

A lifelong Detroiter, photographer Nadir Ali knows Detroit. Regularly working with community partners such as the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Platform, Nadir really knows Detroit.


Detroit in 2022



As a community partner for several well-known Detroit organizations Nadir feels like a historian for the city.


“There are so many transformational projects happening right now in Detroit. There won’t be another opportunity to document the redevelopment of Michigan Central Train Station, the development of the Hudson site, the reimagining of West Riverfront Park. I want to capture these sites now so that when everything is completed in 2022, we’ll have a well-documented history of the ‘before.’”


As the city evolves, so does a photographer’s technology. Nadir actively explores drone photography in and around the city, capturing the city from the clouds. His Instagram handle @3andathird mostly features drone photography around the city, showing users the city like they’ve never seen it before. Now he is especially focused on lighting in his photographs – capturing similar still frames at sunrise, sunset, different times of the day or in unusual weather patterns. Nadir is excited to continue this exploration as Detroit watches it’s buildings grow before our very eyes.


Born and Raised



Having grown up in Detroit, the majority of Nadir’s life experiences take place inside the city – he even proposed to his wife inside the GMRENCEN – so he focuses on the positives taking place here.


“I love Detroit. I choose to focus on the positive things going on in the city like business development and community growth instead of negatives like ruin porn. My goal is for someone from Detroit to stop and say ‘Hey, that’s my city.’ And to make them proud,” said Nadir.


To accomplish this Nadir is capturing moments and editing photos daily. Never to miss a moment he always has a camera or some form of equipment to capture a scene when he’s out and about. Influencers like Big Sean and Pure Michigan have shared his work.


Follow the GMRENCEN on Instagram to see Detroit through Nadir’s lens when he takes over our account for the next two weeks.


Nadir Ali lives in Detroit. Follow him on Instagram at @3andathird or see his online 3andathird.com.