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Detroit Institute of Arts Flickr Contest Winners Capture the Spirit of Sacred Detroit Top five chosen of 83 entries in photo contest related to Kenro Izu: Sacred Places

Friday, September 12, 2008

(Detroit)—It was a photo finish, but judges selected two top winners and three honorable mentions  in the Detroit Institute of Arts’ (DIA) Detroit’s Sacred Places photo contest, held in conjunction with the exhibition Kenro Izu: Sacred Places, on view through Oct. 12.

The public was invited to submit photos that captured their interpretation of sacred Detroit using the online photo-sharing Web site Flickr. Among 83 entries, one was chosen first place, one second place, and three received honorable mention.

James D. Griffioen of Detroit won first place for his photo of a tiny tree growing in a heap of ashes and schoolbooks in the abandoned Detroit Public Schools book depository. Brooke Hanley of Ferndale won second place for her shot of Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project. It features a close-up shot of the stuffed-animal-covered tree trunk reaching toward the sun. One of Guyton’s trademark multi-colored polka-dot houses looms in the background.

Griffioen will receive a signed copy of Izu’s book Bhutan: The Sacred Within, two front row seats to hear Izu speak about his work at the DIA on Sept. 14, admission for two to a post-lecture strolling supper, and a DIA companion membership. Hanley will also receive a signed copy of the book, along with a DIA companion membership.

Honorable mentions were given to Jessica Ehrler of Macomb Township, Ted Fines of Grosse Pointe, and Daniel Seybold of Waterford. All the submitted photos are displayed on the Detroit’s Sacred Places Flickr group site,

Exhibition curators Nancy Barr and Amelia Chau, as well as Kyohei Abe, professor of photography at the College for Creative Studies, reviewed and commented on a selection of the submissions in a blog at The three also served as contest judges.

Barr said the top two winners and three honorable mentions were chosen because they embody ideas that motivated Izu to photograph ancient sites.

 “Izu sought to capture the atmosphere of a place to give it a sense of sacredness as well as a sense of the past, quite like our winners have done,” she said. “But most notably, Izu was motivated to photograph many ancient sites because of their endangerment through neglect and sometimes deliberate destruction. This is certainly the case with the sites depicted in our final selections. Honorable mention designee (Ted Fines) stated it best when he noted that Detroit is ‘a sacred contrast…the hopes and dreams of so many that went before us, the pride of today and maybe love for the city tomorrow’.” 

Lecture and Book Signing with Kenro Izu
Sunday, September 14, 2–3 p.m., Lecture Hall.
Izu will lecture on his photographic work made over the last 10 years featuring imagery from many remote and sacred places throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and South America.
Free with museum admission.

Izu will also be available to sign his two books: Bhutan: The Sacred Within, and Passage to Angkor. Both are available in the DIA Museum Shop.

Hours and admission:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, and $4 for youth ages 6-17. DIA members are admitted free. For more information, call (313) 833-7900 or see the website at


The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth.

Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.

Photos available upon request

Shekini Jennings  (313) 494-5242
Pamela Marcil      (313) 833-7899