Being doused in ‘super cold’ rain creates prize photo

CHRIS HOOK OF Escanaba with his photo “When It Rains,” which earned him first place both in the Iron Mountain Daily News’ Media Awards and in the Student Award category of the Bonifas Arts Center Northern Exposure regional competition.

ESCANABA — Chris Hook is studying business administration and marketing at Bay de Noc Community College, not art.

So he didn’t really expect to do much in the Bonifas Arts Center Northern Exposure regional competition with a “selfie” he said he got just “playing around” in the rain with his camera.

“It was pouring rain outside, a downpour that I haven’t seen in a while. I was trying to get my sister to stand in the gutter for the photo, but she wouldn’t do it,” said Hook, of Escanaba.

Instead, he turned the camera on himself, saying he usually takes such self-portraits in the spur of the moment.

“It was April, so it was super cold,” he added.

Yet it paid to suffer for his art. “When It Rains” earned Hook first place both in the Iron Mountain Daily News’ Media Awards and in the Student Award category.

“I’d just like to say again how thankful I am for the award from the Iron Mountain Daily News. I wasn’t expecting to make it into the competition to begin with, so your award was a bit of a surprise. It was an amazing experience to meet so many talented individuals from the area and I’m happy to have been introduced into such a supporting community of artists,” Hook said.

The Northern Exposure exhibit, including Hook’s photo, will be on display in the Bonifas galleries at 700 First Ave. S. in Escanaba through Dec. 21. It also can be viewed online at

“This event is a great opportunity for people to see a comprehensive look at the current work being produced here in the U.P.,” Bonifas Artistic Director Pasqua Warstler said. “We welcome the public and remind them that there is no admission fee.”

For 24 years, the Northern Exposure regional art competition has supported and encouraged new work from U.P. artists, this year providing more than $3,000 in prizes, including cash, an artist residency and regional media coverage.

“The Bonifas would like to thank these Art Gallery partners for making it possible for the community to be able to view this artwork by exceptional artists from across the Upper Peninsula,” Warstler said.