Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Room with a view
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Room with a view

Robert Downes - February 18th, 2008
Do you have a beautiful home that’s brimming with style, color and creativity? Have you ever dreamed of having it featured in magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens, Cottage Living, Home Magazine or Midwest Living?
If so, photographer Jim Yochum is looking for you.
Yochum, 49, is an architectural photographer who fills the pages of America’s home magazines with images of the indoor life. He’s spent the past 15 years working with 20-some national magazines which grace the coffee tables of America.
“It’s not easy,” he says. “There’s a lot of competition and many people cherish their privacy. The most difficult part of my job is getting people to show me their homes.”
And even though Northern Michigan has many fine homes with magnificent views, there’s a lot of competition out there.
“The national magazines are extremely picky because they’ve got all of the United States to choose from,” Yochum says. “So of all the homes I choose to shoot each year, the ones that get selected are pretty lucky to get in.”
What are the odds of making the cut in a national magazine?
“Out of 10 homes that I see, maybe one or two is good for a photo shoot,” he says. “And then I can send it to a magazine, and they may like the home, but already have one in the bank just like it.”

Last year, Yochum photographed 27 homes, a down year from what he’s used to in a market that’s tough all over.
He receives an average of $5,000 for a day shoot, and $10,000 for two days on the job.
If that sounds like easy money, consider that there’s also a great deal of ‘behind the scenes’ time spent getting a magazine spread. For starters, Yochum has to scout a number of homes before he finds one that a magazine will accept. That often involves knocking on the doors of eye-catching homes around the region and introducing himself and his work to residents.
Once he finds an interesting home, he does a visual sketch with a digital point-and-shoot camera and assembles a package for a magazine to consider. If he gets the go-ahead, he returns to the home with his stylist, Chicago-based Gisela Rose, who secures and arranges props, flowers and furnishings.
Yochum uses a 35mm Canon 5D with 13 megapixels of capacity for the primary photos. Once the shoot is done, he typically spends several days at his computer, digitally-retouching the photos before sending them to the magazine.
“It’s not always the upscale homes that are accepted,” he notes. “If a home is creatively done on a shoestring, it can be of interest. The magazines want creative, lively, fresh and fun homes that are going to turn the pages, along with something they haven’t seen before. It’s hard to get those photos because, let’s face it, everything’s been done before.”

Recently, for instance, he photographed a small farmhouse in the Elk Rapids area of around 900 square feet that had a single-room floor plan on the ground floor with orange walls and furnishings. The color and creativity of the home resulted in a magazine spread. A cottage on Grand Traverse Bay also made the cut, with the photos accenting the simplicity of the home, its furnishings, and waterfront views.
On the other hand, log homes and timber-frames, which are popular in Northern Michigan, are not the go-getters that one might imagine for national magazines. Yochum says these homes all tend to look the same after awhile -- to magazine editors, anyway -- and can be plagued with dark, heavy leather furnishings and antler chandeliers that have become visual clichés. They’re still a good fit with specialty magazines such as Log Home, however.
“It all comes down to the interiors of the places I shoot,” he says. “Architects can’t control what goes into a home; once it’s built, it’s out of their hands. A lot of the time, an interior designer will put their stamp on a home and it’s hard to find people with good taste.”

Yochum moved to Traverse City a year ago from Tucson, Arizona, where he had the quintessential southwestern adobe-style home with 15-foot ceilings, beams and a honeybee fireplace. Childhood memories of his family’s cottage on Torch Lake led him back to Northern Michigan.
Born and raised in the Detroit suburb of Farmington, Yochum bounced around to California, Colorado and Hawaii after high school. A five-month stint in Hawaii led to the purchase of his first camera. Although he had intended to study architecture in college, he soon found his passion in photography, studying at Lansing Community College.
In a stroke of luck, Yochum was visiting a photographer friend in Chicago in the ’80s when he heard of a job opening at Hedrich-Blessing, the oldest and most prestigious architectural photography firm in the world. He had his portfolio with him at the time, and two hours after his interview, he had a job. Over the next few years, he served as a photographic assistant with the firm, flying all over the country to architectural shoots. Later, he went to work for one of the firm’s founders, Willy Hedrich, who shot the famous photo of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, “Falling Waters,” and had also served as war photographer and a portraitist with the likes of Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin to his credit.
“He was a master photographer who seemed to know everything about life, photography and people,” Yochum recalls. “He could control any situation, and I realized that this was really someone I could learn from.”
When Hedrich retired from photography, Yochum decided it was time to launch his own freelance career. He bought a 4x5 view camera 19 years ago and has been a lens-for-hire ever since.
But even though he paid years of dues working with some of the masters of the art, Yochum says that success in photography doesn’t necessarily come from experience and training.
“Photography is the kind of thing where you either have it or you don’t. You either have an eye for a photo or you don’t. I think the really good photographers are naturals.”
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