Great Lakes-Great Ships-Great Concerns

Local photographer travels Great Lakes by tall ship to capture images for ArtPrize

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

When classic tall sailing ships gathered in Bay City, Mich. for the annual Tall Ships Celebration in mid-July, photographer Stacy Niedzwiecki of Rockford jumped at the opportunity to travel through the Great Lakes via an historic form of transportation. This trip of a lifetime was the inspiration for her 2010 ArtPrize entry, “Great Lakes – Great Ships – Great Concerns,” at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids. Niedzwiecki’s photography pieces combine a strong message of freshwater conservation and protection—the same message carried by the tall ships as they traveled from port to port through the Lakes this summer. Niedzwiecki served as a photo journalist throughout the summer, covering a variety of sailing events, starting with the Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City. Following the celebration, she boarded the sailing vessel S/V Denis Sullivan, an educational schooner based out of Milwaukee, Wis. The Denis Sullivan served as the flagship for the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge 2010, and became Niedzwiecki’s floating residence over the next two weeks through Lakes Huron and Superior. Niedzwiecki traveled alongside a group of 11 high school students from three states who were participating in a summer youth program through Michigan Technological University. Niedzwiecki captured scenes of the students’ sailing adventures, along with the day-to-day life of the Sullivan’s professional crew and sail-training volunteers. Carefully skirting a large storm system across Lake Superior, the ship arrived in Duluth, Minn. on July 29, 2010. Niedzwiecki also photographed the arrival of the tall ships Europa and Roald Amundsen to Muskegon Lake. She concluded her photo project in Chicago aboard the Privateer Lynx during the glorious Parade of Sail around Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. “Upon my return, naturally I had folks asking me how my summer cruise was,” laughed Niedzwiecki. “This wasn’t your typical pleasure cruise featuring umbrella-style drinks. The sailing crew worked arduous hours, and it was the responsibility of the rest of us on board to support in the sailing operations. Often, this meant working on very little sleep, in hot, humid conditions without showers.” Niedzwiecki, who had no prior sailing experience, assisted with classroom materials, memorized various lines and sails, attempted knot-tying, charted the ship’s position and performed ship inspections. “Of course, there was plenty of dish washing in the […]