Exploring the Image
Exploring the Image II
Exploring the Image III
About Michael

The Iowan article

The Iowan, a glossy feel-good magazine about the state of Iowa,

featured Michael W. Lemberger in the September/October 2008 issue.

by Valerie Van Kooten; illustrations from the collection of Michael W. Lemberger

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the images in photographer Michael W. Lemberger’s home could tell billions of stories. When the Ottumwa native wasn’t behind the lens capturing the shot himself, he was cataloguing, collecting, and buying photos from others — architectural features on office buildings, shots of historical figures in U.S. history, moments of everyday life — and now has what he estimates to be more than one million images from across the state and around the world.

Some of his most dramatic work — a view of politics through the lens of an Iowa photographer — is currently being digitized by the University of Iowa and will be made available online early this fall. All the photos in this collection were taken by Lemberger with the exception of one — a photograph of Lemberger photographing President Richard Nixon. “I have no idea who took it,” says Lemberger, pointing out a member of the Secret Service in the photograph holding onto the strap of his camera bag. “I thought I had totally free access that day, but he was probably going to rein me in if I did anything too extreme. . .”


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