Behind the Lens:
Exhibit Showcases the Work
of Architectural Photographer
James Haefner


At the confluence of art, industry, and education, Michigan has long played an outsized role in the evolution of modern architecture and design. Acclaimed Michigan-based architectural photographer James Haefner has captured countless Michigan modern structures through the lens of his camera.

You can see 50 of his photographs at Cranbrook Art Museum, in James Haefner: Michigan Modern, a special exhibit which explores Michigan’s extraordinary legacy in architectural modernism. The exhibit runs through January 9, 2022. (You may instantly recognize many of James’ photographs, along with his photographic style; many of his photos of Michigan architecture are featured on the MAF website, on the Must See Michigan Buildings page).

Diverse in style and rich in significance, Michigan Modern documents landmark buildings throughout the state, and the architects of the 34 projects documented in the exhibit reads like who’s-who of modernism and includes the work of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alden B. Dow, Alexander Girard, William Kessler, George Nelson, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Gunnar Birkerts, and Kevin Roche, among many others. In conjunction with this exhibition is a gallery of photographs by James of Cranbrook’s historic landmark campus, highlighting the architecture of Eliel Saarinen.

The exhibition emerged from Haefner’s work documenting important examples of historically significant architecture throughout Michigan for the State Historic Preservation Office and is based on the book by its former chief officer, Brian D. Conway, Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy. This exhibition is organized by James Haefner with interpretive texts by Brian D. Conway and curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director, and is supported by ArtMembers of Cranbrook Art Museum and the Museum Committee.

Visit for more information.


James Haefner: Michigan Modern

Cranbrook Art Museum | Lower Galleries

39221 Woodward Ave Box 801

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303


Exhibit runs through January 9, 2022