Doug Aikenhead is a photographer and educator. He received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and has taught photography and history of photography at several schools including the College of Creative Studies, the University of Michigan, and Washtenaw Community College. He is co-editor of Detroit Images: Photographs of the Renaissance City (Wayne State University Press, 1989). He collects real photo postcards and has written numerous articles about them, including several for The Photogram. Doug has served on the MiPHS Board of Directors since 2020 and has held the positions of Treasurer and Vice President for Special Events.
Vice President - Communications
Nick Valenti earned a BFA degree in ART/Photography in 1980 and a MA degree in ART/Photography from Wayne State University in 1984. He began his teaching career at Oakland Community College as an adjunct instructor in 1983. In 1996, Nick became a full-time Faculty member at Oakland Community College in both analog and digital photography. In 1995, he introduced the first digital imaging courses to the curriculum at OCC. He enjoys teaching a wide range of courses in wet-lab (darkroom), digital imaging, studio practices, history of photography, and art appreciation. In 1998, Nick installed one of the few permanent Camera Obscuras in Michigan, turning his classroom into a teaching tool for optics and the invention of photography. In addition to his teaching, he serves as Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the Orchard Ridge Campus in Farmington Hills and serves as a Board Member of the Michigan Photographic Historical Society.
An avid collector of over 1,200 books on photography, Nick's interest in image-making spans the range from street photography to landscape and documentary photography utilizing analog formats from 35mm up to 5” x 7” in addition to panoramic cameras. Among his favorite photographers are Eugène Atget, Gordon Parks, and Detroit native Harry Callahan.
In addition to his career in photography at OCC, Nick has coached Novi HS and the OCC Soccer Club and taught credit courses in Fencing (Foil, Épée, and Sabre), earning the USFCA level of Moniteur de Fleuret in Foil (2011). Nick lives in Northville with wife Marsha, sons Jack and Audie, and dog Apollo.
Vice President - Programs
Cindy Motzenbecker is a retired electrical engineering technician and worked in Research and Development. She's been involved with MiPHS since the late 1980s, starting out as treasurer, rotating through all the various positions, now president emeritus. Cindy is mostly an image collector but is known to buy a few cameras, mostly wood and brass. After thirty plus years, she “knows all the usual suspects...”
Bill and his wife, Glenna Jo, live in Chelsea, Michigan. They have two grown children and four grandchildren. They are members of the Chelsea Area Historical Society and the Michigan Photographic Historical Society.
Bill was an automotive engineer for General Motors for thirty-seven years before taking early retirement in 2002. He received a degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute) and attended the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, studying industrial design and fine arts. After retirement, he taught as a substitute teacher in the Warren Consolidated Schools for ten years.
Bill, with Glenna Jo’s assistance, wrote a biography of Pauline Cushman, a nineteenth-century actress and a Civil War spy in Middle Tennessee. The book, Pauline Cushman: Spy of the Cumberland, was published in 2009 by Edinborough Press. Together they cataloged all the known imaged of Cushman—about eighty.
Over thirty-five years ago Bill began researching and collecting men’s clothing (1850–75) while building a civilian’s wardrobe for living history and (re)enactment events. Glenna Jo, who is also a nineteenth-century historian, and Bill have assembled a modest collection of original garments and a large collection of period photographs for their own research. They make their collection available for others to study. Both of them have worked with independent film companies making documentaries and other films about the Civil War.
Bill has an interest in several Civil War regiments. One, in particular, the Seventeenth Michigan Infantry, has been the focus of thirty-five years of ongoing research and writing. Several years ago he and Glenna Jo cataloged, transcribed, and annotated a collection of five hundred documents and a dozen diaries belonging to a Connecticut family having three of its five sons in several Connecticut units. He also has an interest in the US Navy during World War I as his grandfather served on the battleship USS Indiana.
The first photo in his collection was an 1880s copy CdV of John Wilkes Booth that he found in a family atlas as a teenager. He has been a member of the MiPHS Board of Directors since 2015.
Chuck has been a member of MiPHS since 2009 and a Board member since 2019. He is a retired banker who has been collecting cameras since the 1970s. A transplant from Cleveland, he and his family have been residents of Farmington since the early 1990s. He specializes in usable classics from Germany and Japan. At first it was for profit, as with a trained eye, it was easy to purchase camera store “trade-ins” and flip to hungry foreign investors for a substantial profit. Nowadays it is just for fun and historical interest. Chuck was instrumental in getting camera authority Jason Schneider to speak at our last Annual Dinner and holds him personally responsible for his camera addiction. Chuck’s camera collection is ever evolving but is limited to about 150 displayed cameras due to space limitations (and marital agreements!). He loves to profess about his favorite cameras in The Photogram and is a regular contributor. His wife Karen also serves the Board as our newsletter’s Editor.
I was born and grew up in Berlin Germany. I also studied mechanical engineering there. I started to work at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany in vehicle development in the 1960’s. In 1974 I got a job at Volkswagen of America in New Jersey and later transferred to Michigan to work at Volkswagen Manufacturing. Most of my work was in vehicle safety, emissions and vehicle testing. I retired in 2006.
I started to do photography with my family’s medium format camera in my preteen years. In my early twenties I finally could afford better cameras. Initially I used a Voigtländer Vito III rangefinder camera, but soon switched to Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras. In the 1990’s I switched to Canon autofocus cameras.
Even though I use digital cameras now, I find it interesting to look into film cameras and older lenses. I use some historic lenses on my Sony Alpha A7 digital cameras. Some of these lenses are amazingly good and have great bokeh, but some others are disappointing.
I like travel, nature and macro photography. Most of the time I use zoom lenses for convenience, but higher speed prime lenses come in handy for low light images or to isolate the subject from the background. I definitely like the modern cameras with fast autofocus because they offer much better opportunities in travel, street and nature photography.
Traveling is one of my other interests and I like to visit other countries. In Latin America I make it a point to stay with local families whenever I have the opportunity. This provides for a better immersion into the culture and a chance to make new friends. Asia and Europe also provide a great opportunity to experience different cultures.
I have been a photographic artist since my father gave me a box camera when I was in the fifth grade. The most wonderful aspect of my practice is connecting with others, learning from them and sharing my knowledge. It is the time spent working, talking and sharing our skills that stay in my mind and keep my creativity alive! For the last several years I have been exploring how to connect the alternative processes of 19th Century photographers with our digital age. My study of the History of Photography has taken me from Niepce's first image, now housed at The Harry Ransom Center in Austin to a small village in France where he lived and made that image to H. F. Talbot's manor outside Bath, and his friend Anna Atkins's home and burial site and Rock House in Edinburgh, the Studio of Hill and Adamson. How exciting to visit sites where the founders of this art first began their work and invented the processes I use today. Photography has enriched my life.
Residing in Saline, Michigan, Yuki has been a member of MiPHS for almost 50 years. He started taking pictures using a folding bed camera that used glass plates when he was about 10. He was a member of Photography Clubs throughout his high school and university years. The Technological developments in photographic industry as well as photographs fascinate him. He enjoys studying historically important mechanical and optical photographic equipment and belongs to several photo enthusiasts’ societies in the US and abroad.
Leonard Walle became interested in photography at a very early age and has assembled a nationally known collection. With a degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Wayne State University, he worked in the graphic arts industry for over 30 years. Len is a founding member of the Michigan Photographic Historical Society, serving in many roles over the years including president, vice-president programs, vice-president special events, treasurer, and is presently on the board as a member at large. He also is on the University of Michigan Clements Library Associates Board of Governors, the board of the National Stereoscopic Association, and is past president / board member of The Daguerreian Society and past president of the Detroit Institute of Arts Forum for Prints, Drawings and Photographs. In addition to having a strong interest in history and art, his activities include writing, photo historical research, and studying the common bond between explorers, artists, and scientists during the 19th century.