CADILLAC — Downtown retailer Charming North hosted a pop-up photography exhibit at its neighboring space, The North Room.
Owners Ashley and Ted Clark have been building their business since early 2021, starting with their purchase of menswear store RJ Grant’s. After buying the building that houses both Grant’s and Charming North in January, the couple found themselves with a third unoccupied space.
Ashley Clark said that when she and her husband were deciding how to use their new property, their hope was to turn it into something that could benefit the community. They settled in a place, which has since been rented out for craft markets, workshops and, now, art galleries.
“There are a lot of local artists and makers and things like that,” she said. “So it was an opportunity where we could also have small markets where they could set up their own booth and get some space in downtown Cadillac for a weekend.”
Michigan wildlife photographer Miguel Denyer is the first artist to exhibit his work in the North Room. His work was exhibited Wednesday and Thursday.
Denyer is originally from Wales where he served in the British Armed Forces. He moved to the United States about 21 years ago and worked as a close protection specialist bodyguard until he suffered two strokes.
While recovering, with plenty of free time, Denyer fell in love with photography.
“I was just going to walk around with a camera and a campaign, and I discovered a talent that I didn’t know I had, literally just built on it,” he said. “Now that’s what I do for a living.”
Nature scenes are Denyer’s broad category of work, but he focuses on the photography of night skies, landscapes, wildlife, and macro insects. All of its footage is captured within Michigan state lines.
Snapshots of birds, butterflies, sunsets and waterfalls lined the walls of the North Room. Denyer said he loves the act of photographing, but what he loves most about his job is studying and learning about his subjects.
Many of Denyer’s photos are extreme close-ups of wildlife. To get close, he said he read a lot about the habits and movements of species native to Michigan.
The US has a wider biodiversity than the UK in general, and the opportunity to learn about creatures he’s only heard of and never seen is fascinating to Denyer .
“Some of the wasps and bees you have here are similar to what we have, but you have a whole bunch of others that we don’t know about,” he said. “We have foxes, but you have coyotes, bears, wolves, you have cougars; We do not have it.
The gallery’s foot traffic was a bit light for Denyer, but he said everyone who stopped to see his work was pleased with what they saw. He was related to the Clarks through a mutual friend and was eager to bring his art to the Cadillac community.
Although his time at The North Room is over, Denyer will remain in town for the Lake Cadillac Art Affair on Saturday and Sunday. He will then travel to Petoskey on August 20, 21, 24 and 25.
Clark said Denyer’s presence on their site was a great opportunity to test new venture for The North Room, and she looks forward to welcoming other creatives into the space.
“I would really like to see that because it’s something different for downtown Cadillac,” she said. “There are definitely a lot of places that have great local art, but just to have a space where you can do a gallery like that is cool.”