Resolute in its narrative of the American and Canadian Great Lakes Coastal Districts.
— The Great Lakes Film Collection

About Great Lakes Film Collection

Thirty years in development, this coveted Americana art collection of analog film plates is resolute in its narrative of the American and Canadian Great Lakes Coastal Districts. North American photographer Ed Wargin set out to create a visually compelling body of work; a story on the Great Lakes. The film collection consists of the numerous works Wargin created using archival color-reversal film mediums from the past three decades. Click The Great Lakes Film Collection to learn more.

The Great Lakes Film Collection™ is an artistic visual study of Great Lakes landscapes, rivers, streams, islands and archipelagoes, lighthouses, summer retreats, fish camps, taiga forests, shorelines, sand dunes, and remnant tall grass prairies, encompassing on film the magnificent coastal landscapes and the nuance from waves to swells, as well as unforgettable man-made pollution that still runs sporadically along the shores. 

The Fresh Coast is how Wargin referred to the area when he began his photographic work in the 1980’s, and it quickly became the namesake of the collection before being renamed The Great Lakes Film Collection in 2017. A native of the Great Lakes region, Ed felt discord wherein the Great Lakes, as a natural body of beauty and history, was conjoined with the popular term of that era, “Rust Belt.” Though Rust Belt referred to economic plights in a broad span, it did not seem to aptly resonate with his visual experience of the Great Lakes landscape, and so he began to use the term Fresh Coast to visually connect the Great Lakes with a more deserving, better-fitting moniker. 

The significance of this fine art collection of Great Lakes landscapes on color reversal (E6) film lies within the demanding, unsparing quests that include rarely chronicled locations for hallmark notables reflecting greater Canadian and Americana value of the Great Lakes, such as Aldo Leopold's summer retreat along Lake Huron's Les Cheneaux Islands and the former private fishing camp of famed fly fisherman, bestselling author and Michigan Supreme Court Justice, John Voelker aka Robert Traver. As a whole, The Great Lakes Film Collection™ tells the story of our Great Lakes experience, but as individual photographs, each film image offers masterful preservation of an artist’s photographic vision. 

The work for The Great Lakes Film Collection™ has been created over a 30 year span of time, while many of the works in the collection have culminated while working on such distinctive film projects and book projects such as Voelker's Pond - A Robert Traver Legacy, Aldo Leopold's Les Cheneaux Island boyhood summer cottage retreat, Michigan - The Spirit of the Land, Lake Michigan - A Photographic Portfolio, The Great Lakes Cottage Book and Legends of Light - A Michigan Lighthouse Portfolio and many personal work journeys through the entire American and Canadian Great Lakes Coastal Districts.

The assemblage of this collection is the result of decades spent by one artist making film photographs of the Great Lakes, but also the diligent organizational actions of curation and archival preservation best-practices thoroughly completed, ultimately resulting in a landmark fine art narrative collection of Great Lakes film. 

Be sure to visit our dedicated website for the Fresh Coast Film Collection and the Fresh Coast Project.