“I’m always amazed how many people it takes to create a fashion spread,” says Jenny Risher, who photographed our bridal feature (page 74). A Mount Clemens native, Risher has been contributing her talents to Hour Detroit since 1997, and she continues to do so as a nationally acclaimed photographer based in metro Detroit. In the wake of this latest assignment, Risher is still marveling at all the little details that helped the team’s vision come to life: 90 pounds of dry ice, countless trips to antique stores, and the carrots and apples to keep Ellie Mae, the pregnant horse, happy on set. “As you can see from all our smiles, we thoroughly enjoyed creating this for our readers,” Risher says. “Ellie Mae is smiling too.”
Monica Mercer spent 10 days last fall in Africa with several doctors and nurses, and she recounts their medical mission on page 68. She was struck by the dedication of Elizabeth Studley (pictured far left), a nurse who has organized the volunteer team from Detroit for the last several years. “I loved watching Elizabeth and all her colleagues step out of the box and give all they had to work in an unfamiliar environment,” says Mercer, whose mother is also a nurse. “I’m fascinated by people who have the knowledge and skills that can truly make a difference anywhere in the world.” Mercer is an associate editor for Hour Detroit.
Freelance writer George Bulanda is also an art collector, particularly of works by Detroit painters ranging from the late 19th century to the present. He was aware of LeRoy Foster (1925-93), but it wasn’t until he saw one of his paintings at the home of a fellow collector that he felt compelled to write about him (page 53). “The room was filled with art, but my eye was arrested by an oil portrait,” he says. “It was by Foster and revealed such a depth of feeling that I couldn’t look away from it,” Bulanda says. He particularly enjoyed writing the piece because he was able to interview several people who knew Foster. Bulanda also writes “The Way It Was” history feature on the last page of each issue.
Longtime Hour Detroit contributor Alexa Stanard tackled two very different Detroit projects for this issue: the launch of a fresh-fruit juice mixer (page 64) and the growth of the Empowerment Plan, a vibrant nonprofit that employs homeless women to make specially designed coats for other homeless people (page 36). “My furnace malfunctioned earlier this winter, and my house was about 64 degrees,” says Stanard, a Huntington Woods-based freelance writer. “I was miserable. Visiting the Empowerment Plan on some of the coldest days of the season when countless impoverished Detroiters have to endure the outdoors brought home how valuable its work is. And the staff’s dedication was inspiring.”