by Richard Lamb–Advance Editor
“Seasons of Love” is actually a labor of love for author Charlie Bunton. The author of two volumes of Rogers City history, with a third and final volume planned for a 2019 release, has compiled a book of photographs by beloved teacher, author and photographer Jim Hopp. The photos show the scenes of the seasons in the Rogers City area.
Hopp, who died in 2015, took thousands of photographs of the seasons in his hometown. Bunton had Hopp as a teacher in high school and his influence left a mark on him, now many years later.
The 55-page book of Hopp’s photographs goes on sale Saturday, July 7, from 1-4 p.m. at a meet-and-greet event at the Advance office in Rogers City. Bunton will be on hand to talk about the book and celebrate the life of Hopp. Before beginning work on the photo book, Bunton had to clear it with the Hopp family, who gave their blessing to the project.
Proceeds of the sale of the book will be going entirely to an as of yet undecided charity.
“I reached out to the Hopp family about a year ago and told them this was something I had been talking to Jim about. I was constantly asking him about when he was going to put his photographs into book form. He had so many photographs that he was sharing on Facebook. I thought this would be an excellent book,” Bunton said.
Bunton asked Hopp’s family if other plans were in place to publish Jim’s photos. They said no, and Bunton began the task of sifting through thousands of images to come up with a good representation of Hopp’s work. The book divides the photos into sections based on the seasons of the year and in many cases uses captions Hopp wrote on his Facebook page.
“He would either title the photo or quote song lyrics or poems often. Actually the day he passed away, I was at my computer writing my own book. Part of my processing of that was going back to Facebook and looking at his photographs,” Bunton said. While looking at the photos that day, Bunton wrote down many of the captions or lyrics used to tell about the photos, thinking the site might soon be deleted.
“He truly wrote the book, because these are his photographs, his captions and his songs. The only thing that I did was to choose some of his poetry. He would never have put his own poem on a picture so I wanted to make sure that I got several of his poems in there as well,” Bunton said.
The images used for the book came from Hopp himself, after Bunton asked Hopp for some photos to illustrate Bunton’s second history volume. Bunton selected each photo, perfected them with photo-editing software and designed the pages. The high-gloss, full-color book masterfully shows off the images in a 7.5-inch by 10-inch softcover book.
“Jim was truly a transcendentalist. He was a fan of Ralph Waldo Emerson and David Thoreau. He taught transcendentalism in his journalism and English courses. These photographs are truly transcendental. You look at them and then you kind of read what he was thinking about when he took the photograph. For everybody who views the photo, I think they will get a different meaning,” Bunton said.
Hopp’s photos used in the book are nearly exclusively of scenic places and are matched with descriptive captions showing how much he appreciated the Rogers City area.
“I think people from out of town who have left will get a lot out of it. It will make them miss home,” Bunton said.
Bunton said he is pleased with is decision to do the book how it turned out.
“As I look at it I have a grin on my face over how it turned out. It looks like how I wanted it. I was nervous but then when I saw it, it was exactly what I wanted,” Bunton.
The finished product is a fitting tribute to a beloved member of the community.
Bunton’s next book will be volume three of his look at the history of the Rogers City area. Volume three, that will be about 500 pages long, covers the years 1960 to date and he is pushing for release by summer of 2019.
“I will be writing about what happened up until a week before the book is published,” he said.
The book will have an index that covers all three volumes of the history editions. The third volume contains chapters on the sinking of the Cedarville, urban renewal and a few lesser-known events.
The 55-page book of Hopp’s photographs goes on sale Saturday, July 7, from 1-4 p.m. at a meet-and-greet event at the Advance office in Rogers City.