Iconic Ann Arbor

“ICONIC ANN ARBOR by Michael Samuelson reminds me why there is no place I would rather be than

Ann Arbor, Michigan”

– Lloyd Carr

Former University of Michigan Head Football Coach

Member, National Football Foundation, Hall of Fame

Definition of Iconic (ī-kŏnĭk): Well-known and distinctively representative of its type.

For six decades, I walked these streets as a Jr HS student at Tappan; HS student at Ann Arbor High School; returning Air Force Veteran during the Vietnam Era; tax-paying resident with Hillary helping to raise a family on Brockman Blvd.; UM graduate student; annual guest lecturer for Professor Timothy R.B. Johnson’s, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; and a current guest lecturer at the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Until recently, I felt that I knew this town, but I did not realize the depth and breadth of Ann Arbor and her 198-year history until I started this project. Wow!

This collection’s goal is to stir nostalgic memories of enjoying ice cream at The Dairy; grabbing a burger with dear friends; sliding into 2nd base; your first taste of pizza; falling in love under an arch; listening to beautiful music in the park; spilling beer all over yourself while toasting a Michigan touchdown; saying “I do;” standing in line for ridiculously delicious sandwiches; worrying about what to say… what not to say; reciting bar/bat-mitzvah; crying and celebrating the life and death of loved ones; walking away alone, but not lonely; the beautiful audacity at the way folks paint homes in a way that communicates independent personality; communing with goats at a farmstead established in the 19th century; gazing (quizzically) at modern architecture; sweating over final exams; being blown away at the beauty of magnificent and ethereal architecture.

Life, Joy, Sorrow, Hope, Fear, Love, Insecurity, Bravado, Humility, Retribution, Forgiveness, Denial, Whistles in the Dark, Resentment, Shame, Tomorrow, and Give-Me-One-More-Chance are chronicled in this photo series.

The collection consists of several current photographs featuring Ann Arbor’s institutions, culture, diversity, history, and architecture. When completed, a work in progress, this collection will have approximately 100 photos, each one highlighting iconic aspects of Ann Arbor, a town we all love and will forever remember. A coffee-table book with final versions of these photos and brief histories and memory reflections from folks like YOU is in the works!

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments

that take your breath away.”

– Maya Angelou

Enjoy this collection and PLEASE email me your suggestions on where in Ann Arbor I should take my Nikon, lenses, filters, mono, and tripod!


In addition to the photos in this gallery, ICONIC ANN ARBOR: Celebrating Ann Arbor’s Unique Institutions, Culture, Diversity, History, and Architecture is now available as a beautiful and decorative memory-stirring coffee table look-book!  Learn more.

All images are available in black & white. Custom sizes can also be requested.