Since the 1840s and continuing today, the Great Lakes provide a significant transportation network for the shipping of lumber, wheat, corn, coal, and iron ore, commodities critical to the American economy.
Iron ore may be the most important of those commodities, through the Industrial Revolution and into the present. Even now, nearly half the cargo moving through the Great Lakes is iron ore, the main ingredient needed for the production of steel.
The ships that transport iron ore today are 1,000 feet long and can hold nearly 60,000 tons of ore pellets, also known as taconite. Once processes, that’s enough steel to manufacture 16,000 cars! It is a sight to behold watching one of these ships move through the Straits of Mackinac as it makes its way to its destination.
Their immense size and massive loads, contrasted with the effortless grace they cut across the waters, make the Great Lakes freighters a source of intrigue. How does this work?
It takes many skilled workers to build these ships and keep them seaworthy. From 1979-1985, photographer Jim Brozek took these extraordinary images of people doing this work on Jones Island in Milwaukee Harbor. By working as one of them, Brozek was able to capture these men and their work in candid and dramatic ways.
PROGRAMS ON TAP:
Wednesday, October 21 – 7:00 PM
A Poetry Reading by Cindy Hunter Morgan
This MSU Center for Poetry event will feature the poet reading from her collection which focuses on Great Lakes shipwrecks and maritime disasters. This reading and the rest of the Fall Center for Poetry writers series is co-sponsored by Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives
RCAH Theater, Snyder Hall, MSU
Thursday, October 29, 5:30 – 7 PM
Exhibit Reception and Gallery Tour
Featuring Photographer Jim Brozek
MSU Museum Ground Floor Gallery
Friday, October 30 – 12:15 PM
“Capturing the Iron Hulls from the Inside: Worker/photographer, Photographer/worker”
An Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives presentation by James Brozek, photographer and former ore boat winter repair laborer.
MSU Museum Auditorium
MSU Main Library