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Coon and Knecht to showcase their artwork from travels to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Courtesy | Sam Knecht

The pho­tog­raphy and paintings of Hillsdale College pro­fessors Doug Coon and Sam Knecht will be dis­played this week in “Looking U.P.” – an exhibit that shows the beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“I love the U.P. for how remote and foreign it is,” Knecht said in an email. “It eludes main­stream America and pro­vides so much in the way of wilderness beauty mixed with odd rem­nants of human civ­i­lization.  Our sub­jects in the art exhibit will demon­strate that.”

The exhibit is the result of a decade of Knecht and Coon’s explo­ration of the peninsula, where Knecht said their travels were not only about seeing the well-known land­marks but also “straying from the beaten path and being open to a chance dis­covery.”

“There are some well-known land­marks in the U.P. that Doug and I have dealt with in our work, but in those cases we try to give them a fresh ‘take,’” Knecht said. “On the other hand, we like coming upon random, unex­pected scenes where momentary impulse jumps in.”

Knecht said although he has done paintings and por­traits since high school, he was also the art department’s pho­tog­raphy teacher for 24 years before Coon.

“Pho­tog­raphy con­tinues as a mainstay for my painting career,” Knecht said. “I use the camera as a ‘sketching’ or recording tool and often judge com­po­si­tional ideas with camera shots.”

Coon, who will present the pho­tog­raphy in the exhibit, said the Upper Peninsula is a “great location” for the type of work he enjoys.

“I enjoy wan­dering aim­lessly when I’m trav­eling,” Coon said in an email. “The lack of people and quality of roads and trails allows for that type of travel.”

Coon added that he hopes his art will pull the viewer into his expe­rience.

“I hope that I’m able to convey not only what the region looks like but my feelings of what I was wit­nessing,” Coon said. “I believe that good art allows for both of those to be expe­ri­enced by the viewer.”

Knecht and Coon will host an artist’s reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sat­urday, Sept. 7. The artwork will be on display until Oct. 9.

“I hope they like the work and have enjoyed vic­ar­i­ously of getting a glimpse of what intrigued us enough to want to capture what we dis­covered there,” Knecht said.