TIPP CITY — When Dan Cleary was asked to create a series of photographs of Tipp City, what started as a small idea became something bigger.
Cleary, of Cleary Creative Photography, grew up outside of Tipp City, attending Bethel schools until his family moved to Dayton when he was in fifth grade. When he was asked to provide artwork for the new Orthopedic Institute of Dayton and Kettering Physician Network Primary Care office, the assignment quickly became more personal than most.
“It’s personal to me in the sense that I grew up living on 571, right in between 201 and 202,” Cleary said, recalling childhood memories of riding bikes and climbing trees with friends. “I had that in the back of my mind. Even though our family moved out of Tipp City, I’ve had this connection to Tipp City and the area.”
Cleary was initially asked to provide scenes of downtown Tipp City, but drawing on his knowledge of the area and the services the facility offers, his vision for the assignment expanded.
“I looked at this as a way to do some artwork with a purpose,” he explained.
Because the facility offers orthopedic and sports medicine, Cleary initially thought to include photographs of Tipp City sporting events, like high school football games.
“Well, the physical therapist said, ‘We actually see more farmers,’” Cleary said. And so the project grew again to include local historic farms.
Instead of just a photo or two, 50 of Cleary’s works were selected for display in the 10,000-square-foot facility.
“I took it from what they initially said and then I expanded on it,” he said. “They wanted photographs so that when people walked in they’d say, ‘Oh, I know where that’s at.’ And they wanted it to have an artistic flair to it.”
The new medical facility houses a primary care office, physical therapy facility, MRI department and The Orthopedic Institute of Dayton office. Patients and staff will see Cleary’s work in nearly every room.
“When I walked in, I was stunned a little bit,” Cleary said. Some of the images are as large as 3-feet-by-4-feet, others are sized to fit smaller areas.
From a few shots of downtown Tipp City, the project came to include scenes from Charleston Falls Preserve, the Great Miami River, downtown Troy and the Eldean Covered Bridge. It took Cleary four days in the fall to complete the project, during which time he was lucky enough to catch the foliage in full color.
“The landscape was so familiar to me because I was there for 10 years, especially since I was there when I was young, in my formative times,” Cleary said. “But there’s the excitement of finding and discovering that makes it better.”
As Cleary explored the familiar landscapes of Miami County, he learned a few new things about the area as well.
“There are about half a dozen national historic sites in Miami County,” he said, which he took into account when planning the project. “And I didn’t know this, there’s a building outside of Covington, which is the oldest living structure in the county.”
Cleary also discovered Greenville Falls State Scenic River Area, where he captured images of falling water.
“I went there on an early morning and was there for three hours,” he said. “I really got some nice artistic, but yet that sort of vista look. It was one of the places that was a little more surprising.”
Based in Dayton, Cleary has been a professional photographer for 28 years. He has a master of fine arts degree in photography. In addition to working with large companies, he also specializes in family portraits, baby photography, high school senior portraits, and fine arts photography.
His photography work has been included in several art exhibits and he was recently recognized by the Dayton City Commission as a Proud Dayton Original.
Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected] or (937) 552-2205.