Reflections of Beauty: Photographs of Michigan by David Lubbers

L.V. Eberhard Center Wall Gallery, Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus
January 6 - April 29, 2023

Over his career, David Lubbers has regularly pointed his camera toward his home state of Michigan, reflecting on the beauty surrounding him. The state’s landscape, with its rivers, lakes, forests, swamps, and shorelines, provided him with a variety of geographic features where he could consider light and shadow in different environments. Drawn to the unassuming on an off-beaten path, Lubbers’ photographs reveal an artist seeking solitude and contemplation in this remarkable landscape.

“It is special here. Not because of one outstanding feature, but because there are so many. I have photographed not so much the obvious, but the less noticed and often overlooked scenes.”

Curated from Grand Valley State University’s collection, Reflections of Beauty features David Lubbers’ black and white photographs taken in the Upper Peninsula and western and northern parts of the Lower Peninsula. In each work, Lubbers explores the unique intersection of earth, water, trees, and sky that actively play a role in the Michigan landscape. Photographed at different times of the day throughout the seasons and paired with Lubbers’ personal reflections of the photographic experience and location, these images suggest an artist patiently seeking visual harmony.

landscape with water

David Lubbers, Morning Mist, Seney, Michigan, silver gelatin print, 1995, 2021.6.70

landscape with trees

David Lubbers, Tree Trunks, Presque Isle, Michigan, silver gelatin print, 1996, 2021.6.67

landscape with beach

David Lubbers, Traverse Bay, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, silver gelatin print, 2002, 2021.6.65

landscape with fallen tree

David Lubbers, Fallen Tree, Porcupine State Park, Michigan, silver gelatin print, 1996, 2020.33.3

About the Artist

David Lubbers spent over 40 years behind the lens of a camera, paying attention to the landscape and selecting beauty in the everyday. Born October 20, 1947, in Holland, Michigan, he graduated in 1969 from Calvin College and received his master’s degree from Michigan State University in 1973. Lubbers taught in the Grand Rapids Public Schools for 12 years before he turned to photography full-time. In his book, Persistence of Vision, he reflected on his inclination to carefully look at things and compose images.

“I’ve always been a visual person. In elementary school, I found myself looking out of windows. The rectangular glass panes of the school-room were uneven, and distorted straight lines into wavy lines. They transformed powerlines and tree branches into abstract patterns. By moving my head just slightly, I could change the composition with windows. Years later, I realized I was using the ground glass of my view camera in the same way, selecting rectangles just like I had when I was a child. The window was still there.”

Embracing his photographic instincts, Lubbers moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1982, working to capture the erosion patterns and landscape of the Southwest. Four years later, he traveled to Mexico to explore man-made ruins and, in the following years, pursued his personal view of the landscape in places such as Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Cuba. Over his career, Lubbers worked in both black and white and color photography, published five books, and exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. Amidst his wanderlust, he repeatedly photographed his home state of Michigan, where he continues to reside after retiring from his career.

muskegon museum of art

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Muskegon Museum of Art. From January 19 through May 14, 2023, MMA will be presenting David Lubbers: The Mysterious Landscape.


January 6 - April 29, 2023

L.V. Eberhard Center Wall Gallery
Eberhard Center, Pew Grand Rapids Campus
301 Fulton St W
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

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For special accommodation, please call:
(616) 331-3638

For exhibition details and media inquires, please email:
Joel Zwart, Curator of Exhibitions
[email protected]

For learning and engagement opportunities, please email:
Amanda Rainey, UX/Learning Manager
[email protected]

Page last modified January 5, 2023