'Good Morning, Milwaukee' Offers New Angle on the City

Sep 16, 2016

After years of blood, sweat and money in service to a degree, the sad truth is that many college grads will not work in their major. At least not at first. That was certainly the case for local photographer Blyth Meier. After earning master’s degrees in photography and film, she found herself working as the head of marketing for Milwaukee Film.

Credit Blyth Renate Meier

But it was in that job that Meier actually found herself putting one of those degrees to work. At the time, Milwaukee Film was working with a lot of suburban venues, because of the kind of feedback they were getting from the community.

“We were hearing that people were maybe not as comfortable coming downtown to see movies. And that just kept going through my head,” she says. “I live in Riverwest and I was walking through the middle of downtown everyday to get to my job, and thinking, ‘This isn’t scary, this is really beautiful.’”

So she started taking photos of the Central City to show people the beauty that she saw in the old buildings and landmarks that make up Milwaukee. And she didn’t stop when she left Milwaukee Film. To date, Meier has taken more than a thousand photos of the city, which have come to form her “Good Morning, Milwaukee” series.

Now for the first time, more than 200 of these photos will be featured in an exhibit at the Portrait Society Gallery, which is located at 207 E. Buffalo Street, Suite 526 in Milwaukee.  The exhibit marks the first time most of her images have been seen beyond the screen. Meier says that actually getting to hold the photos she’s taken has helped rekindle her love of printed photos.

Credit Blyth Renate Meier

“This process of printing them and figuring out exactly how I wanted them to look in the world, is just super satisfying,” she says. “I highly recommend it to everyone who is doing digital photography; do not forget about the print.”

Blyth Meier’s “Good Morning, Milwaukee” photos can be seen at the Portrait Society Gallery though the first week of November. The exhibit is part of a larger show featuring the work of different local photographers, including the work of the late Art Elkon.

Like Meier’s photos, this is the first time many of these images will be seen beyond a screen. The exhibit honors Elkon’s legacy as a self-appointed, visual historian, whose work highlighted the Milwaukee arts community.