One of Kenna’s most memorable photographs of the Rouge is Study 14, a panorama of the Rouge Steel plant as seen at dawn across the Rouge River. The distinctive silhouettes of the powerhouse stacks and blast furnaces surrounded by conveyor pipes and trestles are reflected in the dark waters. Seeming to float on clouds of mist and to rise out of the water like some fantastic vision, the steel making complex with its night lights and chimnies flashing bright plumes of fire, is transformed into a magical, beautiful place. Michael Kenna is the magician who has conjured up this illusion.
I favor the power of suggestion over descriptive documentation and often use smoke, steam or mist in my work. These elements obscure details, simplify forms, strengthen foreground graphic shapes, and simultaneously tone down background distractions. Smoke in particular fascinates me. It symbolizes so much and can be beautiful, yet deeply ominous.