Look Up Asheville is a 150-page, hardcover photographic journey through Asheville’s downtown architecture, highlighting the often-overlooked details of the city’s buildings. Essays by local author Laura Hope-Gill provide insights into their inception and uses through their first century. Look Up Asheville is a wholly local production published by Grateful Steps Publishing (on South Lexington Avenue) and printed by Biltmore Solutions in West Asheville. It is also a creative collaboration between local photographer Michael Oppenheim, graphic designer Michele Scheve and writer, Laura Hope-Gill.
For more than five years, Asheville photographer Oppenheim photographed sixty of Asheville’s prized buildings, exploring how the time of day and seasons affected their textures and characters. In this first collection, images of thirty-two Asheville iconic treasures appear, drawing attention to their fine detail and craft. At times playful (the bas-reliefs of world-weary architects on Grove Arcade and Drhumor) and at others heroic (the Neoclassical Buncombe County Courthouse and the Flat Iron), the work of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century architects and masons defines Asheville as it stands today.
In the essays accompanying the photographs, North Carolina Arts Council Nonfiction Fellow Laura Hope-Gill delves into letters by the architects and old city records to reveal the stories within and behind the buildings while also exploring how Asheville’s eclectic architecture resonates with the larger story of twentieth-century America, its architecture and its history.