Ethan Browning is a New York based photographer. He has exhibited in Washington, DC, Ithaca, NY, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Mildura, Victoria, Australia. He received a BFA from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC, and a BA from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. He is co-owner and Master Printer at Furthermore in Brooklyn, NY. In his spare time he enjoys coffee, paint-by numbers, and baseball.
Courage of the Franconians
Frankenmuth, loosely translated, means “Courage of the Franconians.” It is also the name of a small town, located about 100 miles northwest of Detroit, MI. Most people in this community can trace their families back to the town’s founding in 1845 by a group of Lutherans from the Bavarian region of Germany. For the settlers of the Frankenmuth area, protecting their religious heritage was paramount and they believed that the best means of doing so was by insulating the town through their language. Keeping German as their first language, enabled the town’s traditions to be passed through the generations for almost 100 years.
Things began to change in the 1940’s German was no longer the primary language of the children, in fact most of them could not speak it fluently. The townspeople recognized their heritage could still serve the community. Instead of using it to keep the outside world at a distance, the town could use it to draw in visitors. Frankenmuth was transformed into a Bavarian themed tourist destination.
These modern Franconians have laid claim to their identity, adapting it to attract tourists while still holding on to their values. In this way the people of Frankenmuth continue to show the courage of their ancestors.
To view more of Ethan’s work please visit his website.