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Sterling Heights

December 18, 2013

Featured artist focuses camera on Michigan

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

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Artist Winnie Chrzanowski, of Royal Oak, is Sterling Heights’s Featured Artist for December and January. Her photos of Michigan and Detroit are displayed inside City Hall and the library.

It’s not Instagram or Facebook, but Sterling Heights’ Civic Center is just the place to see a photo gallery that explores Michigan’s unique, personal side.

Artist Winnie Chrzanowski was recently selected as the city of Sterling Heights’ Featured Artist for December and January, and the city is currently displaying her photos of Detroit and various locations in Michigan.

The Featured Artist program, which is run by the city’s Cultural Commission, periodically showcases the works of local talent by displaying the works at City Hall and in the Sterling Heights Public Library.

Chrzanowski said her featured photos are a mix of urban shots and natural beauty.

“I love it here, even if it’s cold,” she said.

She said she draws out the spirit of the state with different angles, perspectives, colors, textures and more.

“I have a lot of fun in post-processing — not so much to manipulate the pictures, but to pump up the details a little bit,” she said.

Chrzanowski, 69, of Royal Oak, explained that she has not been taking photos very long, but she first took serious interest in mastering the art of photography when she toured Ethiopia in 2008.

“I went on a trip, and the guide was a photographer,” she explained. “And he said, ‘I can show you how to use a camera.’”

After she returned from her trip, Chrzanowski put down her point-and-shoot camera and invested in a more professional tool. She said she also started taking classes at Oakland Community College and entered some photography workshops.

One of her biggest inspirations in the art world is French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

“He always waits for just the right moment — something I still have to learn to do,” Chrzanowski said.

Although Chrzanowski does not live in Sterling Heights, she said she worked in the city for more than 25 years as a department manager for data management at General Dynamics.

Virginia Gaw, from Oak Park, said she is a fan of Chrzanowski’s work and has known her since high school.

“She has a great eye and has developed it and has done a great deal of time learning more about the art of photography and has become an amazing photographer,” Gaw said.

“Not only can she capture the essence of people, but also places. And what she does with a camera and a computer to change something ordinary and make it extraordinary is just phenomenal.”

Sterling Heights’ Featured Artist program is looking for new entries. Learn more about applying by visiting www.sterling-heights.net, clicking on the “Forms and Publications” tab and then clicking “Artist of the Month Application.” Or call (586) 446-2471.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.