Duluth woman’s work to be published with ‘the best Minnesota photos ever’Ivy Vainio, whose photographs have highlighted community activities in the Budgeteer, is among the select group of photographers whose work will be featured in the new “Capture Minnesota” book being produced by Twin Cities Public Television.
By: Budgeteer News staff, Duluth Budgeteer News
Ivy Vainio, whose photographs have highlighted community activities in the Budgeteer, is among the select group of photographers whose work will be featured in the new “Capture Minnesota” book being produced by Twin Cities Public Television.
“I am overjoyed, excited, ecstatic. I’m in disbelief,” Vainio said. “When I submitted and knew all these photos were being submitted, I always kind of knew one of my photos would make the cut.”
Twin Cities Public Television said the goal of its Capture Minnesota project is “to find the best Minnesota photos ever.” More than 95,000 photos were submitted and 200 were chosen by website viewers and editors to appear in the 144-page hardcover book. Other photos are being displayed on the TPT website.
Vainio was notified in mid-March that one of the photos she submitted was chosen for the book. Although she hasn’t been told which photo was selected, she believes it’s an image of a powwow dancer that she titled “War Cry,” because it received the most viewer votes. She’ll find out for sure at the book release party April 21 in Edina, Minn.
Vainio lives in Duluth with her husband Arne and their son Jacob. She is the daughter of Lyle and Sandra Gray of Bruno, Minn., and is an employee and graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
For the past 15 years Vainio has worked in UW-Superior’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, where she is a multicultural student services specialist. She is currently completing a master’s degree in communicating arts at the university.
Although she takes photos of student activities for her job, Vainio said she’s been serious about her personal photography for only the past three or four years. She photographs mainly Native American cultural events—powwow dances are a favorite—and close-ups of nature, such as birch bark curls or bees on flowers.
The TPT project isn’t the first time her photography has gained attention. In recent years her photos of community cultural events have appeared in the Duluth News Tribune, Duluth Budgeteer, Cloquet Pine Journal, the Fond du Lac tribal newspaper, and The Circle newspaper in Minneapolis, as well as in Indian Country Today, a newspaper with national circulation.
In addition, a magazine in Hungary used her photos to illustrate an article about Native Americans. “They published a couple of my powwow photos and they used one of my photos of Jim Northrup making a birch bark basket,” she said.
A selection of Vainio’s photographs is on display through mid-May on the upper level of the Jim Dan Hill Library at UW-Superior.
“I’m an amateur. I don’t know what an f-stop is or an aperture.
I just like to take photos,” Vainio said. “I take a lot of photos for my job; I’ve been doing that for years. But doing it outside of work feels different.”
Even before notifying Vainio that it planned to use one of her photos in its book, TPT invited her to its Twin Cities studio to be interviewed for a television special about the Capture Minnesota project. The program will be broadcast later this year.
Vainio said she’s particularly pleased with the possibility that one of her powwow photos will appear in the Capture Minnesota book.
“I feel fortunate to be able to represent the Ojibwe nation by documenting life on the powwow trail,” she said. “I feel a special connection because I’m part of that community and I have an advantage over someone who’s not Ojibwe who’s photographing the same things because a lot of times they won’t know the do’s and don’ts of taking photos at a powwow. I feel really good to be able to represent the Ojibwe and Native American communities in this way.”