Calumet Region Book Cover

The Calumet Region: An American Place
Photographs by Gary Cialdella, Edited by Gregg Hertzlieb
Essays by Gregg Hertzlieb, Gary Cialdella, and John Ruff
University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, and Brauer Museum of Art,Valparaiso University
Designed by the Grillo Group, Inc., Chicago, Illinois
ISBN 978-0252-03456-5
Hardcover $39.95  

Available for purchase at Valpo ArtsMedia http://www.valpo.edu/vuca/, the Valparaiso University Bookstore, and book sellers internationally. 

The Calumet Region: An American Place presents a series of black and white images by an insightful observer of Northwest Indiana's industrial/residential landscape. A professional architectural photographer, established fine artist, educator, and historian, Gary Cialdella (b. 1946) found himself drawn to the Region of his youth for a photographic exploration that has lasted for more than twenty years, and that has resulted in hundreds of rich and complex works. Nearly one hundred of those images appear in this book, reflecting the artist's sensitive, sustained vision and the changes the Region has experienced through economic shifts and the general effects of time.

Cialdella's Calumet pictures thoroughly examine an area of the United States that is often overlooked, but is vitally important to the country's history. Steel mills, tank farms, and refineries coexist with neighborhood houses in the artist’s beautifully composed pieces, which please the eye with their full tonal range and crisp focus.

Gregg Hertzlieb, director/curator of the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University and a native of Northwest Indiana, expresses in his essay his belief in Cialdella's work as a definitive photographic treatment of the Region landscape, a belief that led to the making of this book. Cialdella himself provides descriptions and explanations of his working methods, sources of inspiration, and life experiences to add even greater richness to his images. Finally, Valparaiso University associate professor of English and poet John Ruff reflects on Cialdella's photographs and the ways they capture the spirit of a place that has intrigued him during the years he has spent living in Northwest Indiana.

Cialdella's photographs of the Calumet Region offer an unforgettable portrait of a place that impresses with its strength and that moves us with the poignancy of its struggle. Renowned photographer Larry Fink says that Cialdella “brings his soft painterly eye into the politics of a sort of morality and provokes you to think beyond the forest, through the trees, into the banal and the oblique essence of decay.”