For their first task, the US CitySlickers will show us around their towns and cities, documenting their experiences in analogue and telling us stories along the way. Let’s meet Cole and learn more about Grand Rapids in Michigan!
Name: Cole Bug
City: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Occupation: Explorer, Shipping Consolidator
Welcome to Grand Rapids, the artistic haven of West Michigan! We are located in the lower peninsula, which looks like a mitten (this makes it especially easy to show folks where you’re from, just hold up your right palm and point).
Many artists have left their mark on our city. In 1969, Alexander Calder built “La Grande Vitesse,” which locals refer fondly to as “The Calder.” It has since become the symbol of our city, seen on every street sign and city vehicle. Even earlier in 1908, Frank Lloyd Wright designed the May House, located in the gorgeous Heritage Hill district.
Grand Rapids is home to several small festivals, and two very large ones. In June, we host the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts (or, just “Festival”). Downtown comes to life with several stages, food booths, and shopping tents. Festival this year will be celebrating its 43rd year. Recently though, Grand Rapids has come alive in the end of the summer attracting thousands to every nook and cranny. The Art Prize is a wonderful opportunity for all kinds of artists. And what’s even better? Our city gets new art installations added permanently every year.
Currently, I live in East Town, which is the southeast part of the city. It’s where many of the young folks and eccentrics live. It’s unique shops, great local restaurants and farmers markets all give it a unique flair. The brick roads and century-old gingerbread homes give it a timeless and homey feel. There is always something going on in east town!
I will always love my hometown. I have lived here for all but two months out of my 22 years of life. In 2008, my family moved to San Diego, CA. I lived with them for two months in 2010, but missed it here so much, I just had to move back! My two furry companions are Kizzy, the intelligent tortie, and Quetzal, the goofball runt. I probably take way too many pictures of them, but can you blame me? Cats are lomo lovers, too!
In my senior year of high school, I switched schools for the opportunity to take a Film Photography class. I loved the process, and always volunteered to stay after to help others and clean up the dark room. But, once I graduated, I no longer had film at my fingertips. I’ve always had a digital camera at my disposal, but something still felt missing. With my christmas money this year, I purchased a Holga 135 kit at the suggestion of a friend. I fell in love! After looking up what others were doing with this camera, I quickly found Lomography. It was like coming home. I quickly saved up for a La Sardina Cubic, and recently the LC-A+. Using film felt so wonderful. It was like seeing a long lost friend. Sometimes, I get teased for shooting with something that isn’t as “sure” as digital. But that’s what makes film so much fun! I may not fully know what I’m doing, but I’m having fun either way.
Lomography consumes much of my spare time now. I always have a camera or two on me, of course. But while I’m looking for photo ops, you can find me reading, drawing or painting, hiking, crocheting or knitting, or something completely different. I’m starting to get into container gardening. However, life is not always fun and games. But, I have to say, work is pretty fun, too! I work for the largest arts & crafts supply company; we ship all around the world! It’s very hard to resist the urge to go out and buy all the awesome things I see. Working in a warehouse is new to me, and I quite enjoy it.
I’m very excited to show you around Grand Rapids in the months to come. See you soon!