A Photographer in Lakenenland – Marquette, MI
While traveling to Marquette to shoot Tim and Allison’s engagement photographs, Landon and I saw a sign for “Lakenenland”. Curious, we pulled into the parking lot to find a bunch of awesome huge metal sculptures!
It turns out that Lakenenland is a free drive or walk-through park for people to see the sculptures of Tom Lakenen. Tom is a welder by trade, and when he found himself unemployed, he began creating art with his metal working skills to fill the time. It soon became addicting, and he found himself running out of places to put his art, so he created Lakenenland! Landon and I had a blast driving through, and (of course) I took a huge amount of photographs.
Another thing we found hilarious was the animosity between Tom and the board members of Chocolay Township in Marquette County. You see, the board feels that Tom’s art (contained on his own private property and free for the public to tour) should be considered “signs” – which, of course, requires a ton of paperwork and money to legalize.
Most of us (including Tom) agree that this is stupid. Landon and I had an even better time at the park knowing that we were sticking it to the man! (lol) Following the rules is smart and the right thing to do- but sometimes people try to enforce rules that don’t apply and are unfair, and that’s the time to stand up and say no. So, our journey through Lankenenland started with a few ‘conditional’ no-trespassing signs:
After we had a laugh at that, we began to drive through the park and admire Tom’s hard work. Here are a few of my favorites:
Almost at the end, we found a rest stop. Filled with notes and letters from visitors, information from Tom, and much more, it was a cool place to find out more about Lakenenland. Tom had even put together a stove for folks to roast hotdogs or grill burgers, and was kind enough to cut wood for the fire as well! (there was even a stock of mustard and ketchup in the cabinet!)
At last we were done traveling through, and on the way out we spotted what would be my FAVORITE sculpture of all. This bad boy is HUGE (I would easily be dwarfed by the height of his tail) and so awesome! I love the detail on the caught fish as well. Well done, Tom!
I would recommend Lakenenland to anyone traveling to the north end of Michigan. Take a look at Tom’s site for more information, and be sure to drop by if you can. Admire the hard work and art of a weldin’ man, and leave a few bucks if you’re able.
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