Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Northern Michigan Photo Studio Holds Contest for Students

Photographer Tony Hogrefe sits for a portrait in his studio.

Northern Michigan photographer Tony Hogrefe needed a plan help to drum up business for his new Alanson studio. Giving away free photos sounded like one of the proverbial “too good to be true” type of deals so why not make those that wanted one work for it? How about a photography contest for high school students where the winner receives a free portrait package?

Hogrefe, who has been working professionally for three years since studying photography at Kellogg College in Battle Creek, wasn’t really interested in taking pictures after leaving the Marine Corp in 2003. “The girl I was dating was a photo hobbyist so I suggested taking a photography class as something to do together.” said Hogrefe. “I took the class and fell in love with it.”

Moving back to northern Michigan this past December the Alanson high school graduate and Iraq War veteran was laying in bed one night when he thought up the idea for the photo contest. “I was thinking of ways to draw in business that would benefit myself as well as the client.”

The contest is open to all high school juniors and those seniors who don’t have their senior portraits done yet. Students may enter one photo that can be submitted either digitally or as a traditional print. Hogrefe will judge the images and the winner from each school will receive a free senior photo package with a retail value of more than $500.00. The only real catch is that in order for a school to qualify for the contest there must be a minimum of three entries from that school. Non-winning entrants will receive a discount on senior photo packages done by Hogrefe’s AMH Photography.

If the contest draws enough interest Hogrefe is ”planning on doing it as an annual thing.” As an additional benefit winning students will be able to display and sell their photographs at Hogrefe’s River St. studio during next summers Alanson Riverfest.

Photogarher Tony Hogrefe outside his AMH Photography studio in Alanson.

The full set of contest details can be found on AMH Photography’s website at www.amhphotography.com

Monday, January 25, 2010

Some of the artwork that is available at the Northern Michigan Artists Market in Petoskey, Michigan.

It’s no surprise to almost anyone that it’s a tough time to be in the retail art business. The Northern Michigan Artists Market in downtown Petoskey, Michigan has managed to keep afloat in this ailing economy by offering a wide variety of local art that covers almost every price range.

"We’re pretty representative of the large amount of art being done here in the area." says gallery co-owner Marty Scott. "The large variety of art that’s being done here in the area is just amazing." The gallery features the glass, wood, fabric, and pottery work of northern Michigan artists from as far north as Marquette south to Traverse City. They also handle a wide variety of original paintings, photographs and sculptures.

Northern Michigan Artist Market co-owner Marty Scott stands among some of the artwork that is available at his gallery in Petoskey, Michigan.

Hoping to capitalize on the growing interest in local artwork Scott and his partners Susan Lange and Vivi Woodcock now operate the gallery on a strictly consignment basis. Artists who have their work displayed in the gallery pay a monthly fee and commission on any work that is sold. Now in its sixth year the gallery offers original works from as many as a hundred different artists priced from $1.00 to $5,000.

Scott prefers not to talk about the negatives of running an art gallery in trying economic times. Instead he likes to point out the things he feels his gallery does right. "We wanted to be the most artist friendly gallery there was, we offer a wide variety of price points and we’ve been able to capitalize on the tourist market." Gallery customers include "tourists looking for everything from souvenirs to high end fine art" all of which is available at the gallery. "Surprisingly we are one of the best places to buy original artwork cards. A large number of our artists make cards."

"We’re very happy with the customer and artist support we’re getting. There is a lot of interest in what we do." says Scott. The market also offers customers the ability to shop on-line. Almost every piece of art is photographed and made available on the gallery website at http://www.nmam.us/.

Some of the artwork that is available at the Northern Michigan Artists Market in Petoskey, Michigan.

While a large number of both new and established galleries have closed throughout the region consignment art galleries like the Northern Michigan Artists Market are proving they are able to compete for shoppers even in depressed retail markets. With artists finding it harder and harder to find outlets for their work they also provide a great venue for new and unique artists to get their creations seen by the public.

Additional information about the Northern Michigan Artist Market can be found on their website http://www.nmam.us/ or by calling the gallery at 231-487-0000.