GTPulse: Frankfort Woman Captures Local Life in Moments

Kathy Smith and her small family moved to Traverse City in 2000. They had grown tired of the faster, louder, more crowded everyday life downstate and wanted their daughter to grow up somewhere she could be close to nature.

“I like the quiet. My daughter was 2 at the time, and we thought this would be a great environment for her. It was good for her and I’m glad that we did it.”

She described Traverse City as quaint. The small-town charm was perfect for the Smith family up until some of the quaintness they were so fond of started to change. Weekends, evenings and summers gradually became more packed than when they had moved up.

Photo by: Kathy Smith

Photo by: Kathy Smith

In search of that small-town coziness that they once had, the trio moved to Frankfort. They moved into a house on a hill by the Betsie River, with a beautiful view and neighbors visible but far apart. Kathy was enamored with their new home.

“It’s just one of those small little spots that not a lot of people know about. There’s just so much to do in that area, especially if you love the outdoors. There are beaches, charter fishing, kayaking, camping. In the summertime, they have farmers’ markets that run every Saturday. There are two big arts and crafts type of fairs that they do in the summer, one is like a street fair. A huge Fourth of July carnival, there’s just so much.”

Kathy has enjoyed taking photos her entire life. But in 2016, several years after moving to Frankfort, she got an urge to spend more time with photography. Time spent exploring her new town had built up a big supply of inspiration for her.

“I really enjoy getting out into nature, and I like to find those little things that people don’t necessarily pay attention to. I mean, I take pictures of things that everyone can see like lighthouses and such. But I also try to get something that’s a little bit different out in nature.”

Photo by: Kathy Smith

Kathy takes photos showcasing Frankfort and Northern Michigan all for the love it. The kind of unique nature shots she enjoys capturing are ones that represent nature in a small but profound way.

“Melting ice for example, when it’s dripping down an icicle and getting that reflection of whatever is on the other side of it, trees or plants are reflected upside down. It’s like this entire world inside of a drop of water.”

She shares these tiny pieces of her world with the public through her Instagram account @Frankfort_Moments. She captures lots of Frankfort but also surrounding Northern Michigan areas too. Her photos encapsulate the textures and colors of the region throughout the seasons. Because she does this as a hobby, her biggest joy with sharing the photos comes from others sharing their appreciation for the beauty. 

“When I put the photos on I try to find a poem or a quote that expresses the way I felt when I was taking that picture.”

She wants people to experience the moment in the way that she has, so her photos aren’t edited. She leaves them untouched to be appreciated by the viewer. Her photographs have even caught the attention of Pure Michigan.

“Benzie County, Manistee County and Grand Traverse County, for some of their sites have picked up my photos. Pure Michigan picked up a couple of my photos. The first time that happened it was really exciting.”

When she attends craft shows, the Pure Michigan photos are always a favorite among customers. Because her photos are so lovely and she speaks so highly of her town, I asked Kathy if she ever worries about Frankfort becoming too busy for her.

Photo by: Kathy Smith

“I have worried about that because there are so many advertisements, and during the summer months in particular it gets pretty busy. But it’s still a quaint town.”

To see more of Frankfort and beyond through Kathy’s eyes, follow Frankfort_Moments of Instagram to connect with her and the beauty of Northern Michigan.

“We see things as stories and try to translate it in a photo. When I post a picture, I appreciate when someone comments and understands the story i told with the picture. It becomes a shared moment. We experienced it together. And that’s what Frankfort Moments is about, sharing and experiencing those moments together.”


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Categories: GTPulse