Distinguished Hoosier Awards

In 2011, John Bower and Lynn Bower were each honored as Distinguished Hoosiers by Governor Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. Their nomination for this prestigious distinction was offered by Indiana State Representative, Peggy Welch.

The Distinguished Hoosier Award is one of the highest tributes given out by the State of Indiana to its citizens. It is solely granted at the discretion of the Governor to Hoosiers who have uniquely brought admiration and respect to the state through their character and accomplishments. The Bowers received their Distinguished Hoosier Awards for their exceptional on-going dedication to artfully preserving on film, and in photography books, Indiana’s vanishing historical heritage.

In pursuit of their deeply felt and shared commitment, John and Lynn Bower have crisscrossed the state, driving over 125,000 miles. Together, they have visited each city, town, and former town in Indiana—3,318 localities in all—seeking out aging buildings and objects for their photography books. John, who is the photographer of the pair, uses traditional black-and-white film to best capture the moody and forsaken essence of his subject matter. As he shoots, Lynn seeks out possible additional shots, and interview locals for background information. Together, the two write all of their books’ essays and articles. It is Lynn, an artist, who chooses which images are to be included, lays out all the pages, and designs their books’ covers.

Exhibits of John’s photographs have been displayed in museums, galleries, and many other venues throughout Indiana. To further increase awareness of the underappreciated and forlorn visual treasures they have discovered, the Bowers have given over 100 PowerPoint presentations to fellow Hoosiers at libraries, museums, historical societies, and civic organizations.

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