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SIX PHOTOGRAPHERS SHARE THEIR BEST TAKES ON MANHATTAN
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contributors. Fal l
EDITORS Nathan Pettengill Kalli Jo Smith ART DIRECTOR/ DESIGNER Alex Tatro COPY EDITOR Leslie Andres ADVERTISING AND MARKETING Angie Taylor | (785) 832-7236 CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Scott Bean Michael Henry David Mayes Amy Meng Dwan Miller Luke Townsend
Manhattan photographer Scott Bean says he enjoys the “challenge of searching for views and conditions that really bring the landscapes alive … when the view, the weather and the light all combine for a magic moment.”
Michael Henry has worked as a photographer since 1961, when the Associated Press paid 13-year-old Michael $15 for a photo. The Fort Scott native spent years in the Southwest as a fine art photographer before returning to Kansas in 2013.
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Scott Bean Michael Henry David Mayes Amy Meng Dwan Miller Luke Townsend
Abilene native David Mayes has worked in newsrooms across Kansas and California and has photographed the K-State and Manhattan community, both as the university’s official photographer and as an independent artist for many years.
PUBLISHER Bill Uhler
DIRECTOR Bob Cucciniello SUBSCRIPTIONS $25 (tax included) for a one-year subscription to Manhattan Magazine CONTACT US Manhattan Magazine 1503 SW 42nd St | Topeka, KS 66609 (800) 578-8748 | Fax (785) 843-1922 Or e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Manhattan Magazine is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of Ogden Publications, Inc. sunflowerpub.com
Amy Meng embraced photography while fighting a rare disease and found that the art provided hope, beauty and respite. She continues to capture images and highlight everyday beauty as a professional Manhattan-based photographer.
After retiring from the U.S. Army, Dwan Miller launched a career as a professional photographer. He currently shoots art, portraits and events in the Manhattan and Kansas City region.
With an interest in sociopolitical issues, Luke Townsend has been recently documenting the Covid-19 pandemic, local government, the Black Lives Matter movement, emotional unknowns connected to the reopening of schools, and food production and food insecurity in Riley County.
Fall 2020 / 3
a look. INSIDE
Luke Townsend writes about the challenges and privilege of photographing what you love with a critical eye.
Scott Bean writes about photographing a natural treasure.
HEART OF MANHATTAN
Amy Meng discusses how we visualize the best possible future.
Dwan Miller explores the images that represent our city.
David Mayes looks at how we envision our most important space.
Michael Henry curates all the tones of our city’s favorite color.
AMY Meng ON THE COVER F a l l
4 / Fall 2020
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SIX PHOTOGRAPHERS SHARE THEIR BEST TAKES ON MANHATTAN
Cilayn Alba, a 2020 graduate of Kansas State University with a master’s of political science and government, walks through downtown Manhattan. Photograph by Dwan Miller.
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6 / Fall 2020
Our special fall 2020 photography edition features the work of six Manhattan photographers interpreting five different themes, all aspects of our hometown.
Manhattan means many things to each of us and different things to different people. For me, it’s home, and this opening image to the left represents how I grew up viewing Manhattan: safe, comfortable, full of hope … beautiful sunrises over the Flint Hills. The challenge (and honor) of being a photographer is that our work requires us to be on location, whether that is standing in the hills waiting for the sun to rise or being alongside our neighbors as we document how they respond to the Covid-19 crisis and the calls for racial justice sweeping our country. As I have followed these personal stories over the last few months, I have realized that my sunrise photograph of Manhattan only fits the description of what I wanted to see. Through working with my camera in our community, I know there are those who, feeling unsafe because of the color of their skin, fear walking out of their home. There are women and men who do not feel comfortable sharing their true selves, and there is a lingering unease that has been heightened by the pandemic. My greatest tool for education is my camera, a tool that has led me to understand that not everyone encounters Manhattan with the same safety, comfort, and hope as I’ve had the privilege to experience it. My hope is that my hometown reflects the natural beauty around us and continues on the path of inclusion and empowerment for those who have lost hope by being underappreciated, underrepresented, and undervalued. My hope is that Manhattan can embrace what the community can be: a family. And there’s no greater value to a family than its people. These past months of documenting Manhattan have shown me that even our most beautiful sunrises will never seem as brilliant as they could be until all of us can wake each day in safety, comfort, and with equal confidence in our common future. That day will come in Manhattan. And I look forward to sharing it. — L U K E TO WN S E N D , P H OTOGR APH ER
Fall 2020 / 7
The Flint Hills are probably best known for containing the last large area of tallgrass prairie remaining in North America. This region also contains a wide range of plants and wildlife; its sloping hills and wide-open views provide a great place to relax, find room to breathe and let the problems of the day drop away. It is an ecological treasure at our doorstep. The attributes that make the Flint Hills such an attractive place to visit are the very same qualities that make the region a perfect landscape to photograph. For example, that view of a sunset across the expanse of the prairie soothes and inspires us when we see it in person. For a photographer, this framed landscape is also a classic representation of perspective, divisions of thirds, and sharp lines of contrast.
8 / Fall 2020
Virtual Exhibition launching October 13, 2020
I love photographing the Flint Hills because this land speaks directly to me, both as an outdoors person and as a photographer. Wandering a gravel road through the Flint Hills is a peaceful way to spend a day, and the views become magical when the light at the end of the day highlights the shapes and textures of the landscape. When I am not being awed by the largescale views, I am free to discover the details of this natural setting. There is a lot to see amid the rocky soil of the Flint Hills, from the vivid colors of prairie flowers to the subtle hues of regional crops. The beauty of the Flint Hills is never stagnant. Seasonal transitions create vast differences in scenes and moods. The sparse blue light on a stormy winter day creates a much different effect than the radiant, golden spring sunset. Each of these conditions creates its own wonderful layers of detail and texture for an immersive scene that draws the eye in.
Fall 2020 / 9
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MICHAEL Henry Fall 2020 / 11
The Flint Hills are never the same. An image of a Flint Hills road disappearing into the distance on a December morning brings the cold of winter home and creates a sense of mystery that feels much different than a photograph of that same winding gravel road on a late July evening. When I photograph the Flint Hills for my work, I often do so alone. But the Flint Hills are also there for us to enjoy with family and friends, and this landscape is the perfect backdrop to capture memories of one another. Perhaps in the coming year Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll see you out there on the hills. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Scott Bean
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If you close your eyes and think of “the heart of Manhattan,” what do you see? For me, the heart of Manhattan is a place somewhere along Poyntz Avenue. Right before I captured this image on our city’s showcase street, I looked through my lens and could feel Manhattan’s excitement surrounding me. This was just after we had reopened following the first Covid-19 shelter-in-place. The sun was casting a warm glow, American flags were hung along the street, businesses were opening their doors, residents and visitors were venturing outside and you could feel people’s pride in the Little Apple.
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The gothic tower at Kansas State University’s Anderson Hall, shown on page 16, is one of the oldest structures on campus. It represents the university’s historic connection to the city, and the chiming of the 98-bell carillon is a sound we associate with Manhattan. David Mayes’ photo of Anderson Hall against the backdrop of the sun and a lovely orange-yellow sky provides a perfect, almost magical, setting for a historic building at the center of the community.
Fall 2020 / 15
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When I was preparing a photoshoot for local YouTuber Sterling Muse, I asked him which Manhattan location would be the most recognizable backdrop. “Varsity Donuts,” he answered without hesitation. Varsity Donuts is at the heart of Aggieville, which for many—particularly students—is the heart of Manhattan. The shop is more than donuts—it’s a location where students hang out late into the night to study and socialize. When I took this image, we were at the height of the spring Covid-19 shutdowns, so Sterling was alone. As I was changing settings on my camera, I looked up and noticed how his expression and body language at that moment seemed to reflect everyone’s feeling of concern for the future and disappointment in the loss of our daily comforts and gathering spots. I think this image speaks of that sense of anxiety, but also how much love we have for local businesses and institutions that define the heart of our city.
16 / Fall 2020
For many of us, the heart of Manhattan might not be a location, but the people we meet and the connections we form in this city. Michael Henry’s close-up of musician JahVelle Rhone performing at a Manhattan restaurant represents how the city’s artists and performers are a core element of Manhattan’s identity. “I’ve always liked the vibe of the entire shoot, but that image especially,” Michael told me. “It has a kind of smooth jazz feel that reminds me of a night on the town in MHK.” The towering glass structure of the Flint Hills Discovery Center is a favorite backdrop for many Manhattan photographers. In this image, Scott Bean used a wide-angle lens and the sunlight’s warm tones against the structure to depict the building as a welcoming gateway to the city. —Dwan Miller
MID-AMERICA Fall 2020 / 17
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I was glad to see “home” was one of the concepts for this project. Home means lots of things to me. Where I come from. Where I live now. Friends and family. The first thing I think of when I hear “home” is Kansas. I am a son of this state, and, while I love the towns, big and small, I’m most at home out in the country with fresh rain on the prairie, wind rustling the tall grass, old trucks on dirt roads. Wherever I go, Kansas will always be home in my heart.
First let me say there’s a huge part of me that wishes all photography was still black and white. I admire Luke Townsend’s image of the cat napping in the window. That cat is definitely “at home.” Luke is great at capturing photographs like this. I’ve been fortunate to know Luke since he was in high school, and it’s been a pleasure to see him grow into the great talent he’s always had. While I love black and white, Michael Henry’s image of the dog walker on Linear Park Trail is why the rest of me loves color. Gray, cloudy, damp days don’t have that brilliant sun, but the colors are super saturated and the light is so even—as if the entire sky is a huge, soft box. This is a really sharp photograph, and I’m a little jealous of it if I’m being honest. I’d like to say I had some great plan in mind when I shot the picture of the sunflowers and the old windmill on page 20, but, as is often the case, I was shooting something entirely different and just happened to turn around and see that beautiful evening light on the roadside sunflowers. The area, just north of town, has been my home for the last 30-some years and is breathtaking—when I remind myself to slow down and appreciate it.
MICHAEL Henry Fall 2020 / 19
20 / Fall 2020
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Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s funny that in a relatively small town, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve only run into Michael Henry once. But Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve admired his work for quite a while. Few things say home more than your front porch. This picture of a woman reading a newspaper on her front porch swing is just gorgeous and makes me wish I was there reading, too. With soft lighting and a clean background, this image allows me to practically hear the chains on the swing creaking. You can be yourself on your front porch, and Michael captured that with this picture. Michael and Luke are both fantastic photographers, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m grateful to get to share some space with them. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;David Mayes
22 / Fall 2020
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24 / Fall 2020
Who is not drawn to images of hope? As a photographer, I enjoy the hunt for new ways to show hope; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of my favorite themes to photograph. Before I click the shutter, I am intentional about the theme of my photo, and I use photographic elements to help connect with the viewer. As these photos show, images of hope can be healing.
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Scott Beanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s image makes me feel the hope of a new day. I feel like I am walking up that hill, the warm sunshine on my skin, with the promise that a new day brings. Sometimes photographers know just what to take out to help viewers better relate to an image. Scott silhouettes the trees to accentuate the warmth of the sun, creating this hopeful feeling. Dwan Miller captures the joy of celebrating graduation and hope for the future on page 27. I admire how he takes a low point of view, making the graduate seem strong, and gives depth with the grass. I especially appreciate the leading lines and action of this photo, guiding you around the frame and conveying anticipation for what lies ahead.
Fall 2020 / 25
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AMY Meng Both of my photos are about struggle, but holding onto hope. In “Hold On,” I show the struggle during a snowstorm and the toll winter had taken. I used leading lines, focus and red color to make the grouping of crabapples stand out. I also broke the rules by overexposing to make the sky white. In “Hopeful Wishes,” I photographed a dandelion, often thought to be ugly, to show its beauty. I backlit the weed at sunset and added a rainbow, the symbol of hope. I wanted to show the dandelion hoping to be picked by a child so she can give away her wishes. I hope these images leave you yearning for tomorrow and all the days to come. —Amy Meng
26 / Fall 2020
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The American way of life can be witnessed in Manhattan in our bookstores, our churches, our coffee shops, our cafĂŠs, and our schools with as many diverse opinions as there are people. But our views and opinions come sharply into focus on game day when thousands of fans dressed in their finest shades of purple file into Bill Snyder Family Stadium with only one goal in mind. Win or lose, K-State sports reign supreme and unite not only the student body but also the entire town. A day spent with 50,000 of your closest friends is a picture of connection to the Manhattan community that must be experienced firsthand.
After the game and the celebrations, Manhattan settles back into its Midwestern way of life. The slower pace returns. Team flags may or may not be tucked away until the next game, but the purple remains everywhere. It’s in the flowers that spring up in every yard, the cars we drive and the houses we live in. Purple is so prevalent that, if asked, anyone would identify it as the “community color.” Every day, we encounter beautiful scenes like the ones shown here and think “what a great photograph that would make,” only to be disappointed with the result. What is the difference between a great photograph and a snapshot? Take a look at these photographs, excellent examples of that special combination of art and technique. Scott Bean’s prairie wildflower image, shown above, is especially vivid. I admire his ability to incorporate aesthetics as well as a technique that brings his work to life. In this image, Scott uses the rule of thirds composition, as well as a strategy known as backlighting—a technique that draws my attention to a part of the scene he wants the viewer to focus on.
AMY Meng Fall 2020 / 29
Amy Meng’s flower photograph exhibits the same qualities although she uses a slightly different technique. In this case, just a hint of negative visual space on the left side draws my attention into the scene while the delicate lighting accentuates the beautiful, subtle details. Scott’s image of the flower and the bee on this page uses the rule of thirds to guide my eye to the bee, and his masterful technique makes the overall scene brilliant with color. —Michael Henry
30 / Fall 2020
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