Corinne VanOstran is the Official Photographer of Detroit Bookfest 2021

Corinne VanOstran is the Official Photographer of Detroit Bookfest 2021


Based in Metro Detroit, Corinne VanOstran, is a talented and well-traveled lifestyle photographer who especially loves action photography.

You can hire her for portraits, events, engagements, boudoir, school and other photography gigs.

You will see her at Detroit Bookfest taking photos. Please treat her courteously and respectfully.


Corinne VanOstran (Photo courtesy of Cori Kay Photography)

Interview with Corrine


What got you interested in photography and how long have you been shooting?


I’ve loved photography since I was a little kid. My aunts gave me their used Polaroid cameras and I basically never stopped taking photos. After that, I was snapping pictures everywhere I went. It wasn’t until high school that I got my first entry level DSLR and I was so excited. I cherished that thing and used it heavily until my senior year of college, when I finally needed to upgrade my camera. I still use it sometimes, along with the old film camera’s that I have from when I was a kid. So, I guess I’ve been shooting since I was 7, but I wasn’t paid or recognized for it until I was about 16.

I love documenting the world and its moments. I think that people forget how fleeting moments are. Photographs help us do that. Photographs also help us see moments in new ways. Photos are preserved slices of our lives and I’ve always thought that was awesome.


Hobbies? What do you do for fun?


Unsurprisingly, I love taking photos for fun. I actually take photos of miniature painted models for a game called Warhammer for my friends and fell in love with taking macro photos of miniatures!

I also love swimming and reading, so it isn’t especially rare to see me trying to protect my books from water while lakeside or poolside. I love new experiences and going new places, so chances are if someone ever asks me to go somewhere the answer is an emphatic “yes!”.


Favorite hangout spots, restaurants, bars, experiences, etc, in the Detroit area?


I love doing Haunted Tours of the Detroit 6th Precinct (McGraw Ave, Southwest Detroit) when those were going on. It’s a great way to support local history, legally explore a cool old building and do something off-beat. I actually try to frequent as many tours of historic old buildings in the area as possible, especially those that need the funding and try to take my family on them as well when they come into town.

The Standby (225 Gratiot Ave, Detroit) is probably my favorite cocktail bar, and the Two James Distillery (2445 Michigan Ave, Detroit) was super fun to tour! I found both of those places while trying to find a place to live in Detroit and they quickly became favorites.

Also, you also didn’t hear it from me, but if you visit the Pringles vending machine in the back of El Topo (113 Mill St, Fenton) after 5pm between Tuesday and Saturday, you might get more than just a trip for tacos.

Corinne VanOstran (Photo courtesy of Cori Kay Photography)


What do you like most about the Metro Detroit area?


It’s hard to pick one thing. Metro Detroit is such a unique experience. I think the overall experience of the city of Detroit is what I like best.

For instance, the first time I visited downtown Detroit was when I was on Spring Break and looking for a place to live after graduation. This random guy recognized my college (I went to Michigan Tech) from my sweatshirt and started talking to me about how he raps about Astrophysics and that I should check out his flows. Then we chatted about MTU’s physics department and some kids he tutors. On a side note, I checked out his BandCamp and he raps better about Astrophysics than any Bill Nye video ever could. I’ve been to so many other places and you literally don’t get that anywhere else.

I feel like Detroit has a community that is so uncommon for a city its size and people really want the metro area to thrive! I can do almost anything here and meet just about anyone (including someone who always says they know what happened to Jimmy Hoffa). This tangible feeling of community doesn’t exist everywhere. The metro area feels like a beautiful clashing of history and the modern day. The Detroit experience consists of unique events, people, and cultures that will leave an indelible impression on you.


Any upcoming projects, developments, new announcements?


I’m currently working on two pet projects:

Digitizing film (for family and archival reasons) and Southern Gothic novel-inspired photoshoots.

For the Southern Gothic Novel inspiration, I couldn’t get the images from the novels I was reading out of my head but I’m also a terrible drawer. So I started working on setting up photoshoots instead. Now that I’ve collected most of my props and found the appropriate locations, I’m trying to rope in my friends to pose for me. My challenge to myself will be recreating scenes from one book per month for 12 months straight. Hopefully, I don’t run out of willing participants by then!






Google Business Page


Corinne VanOstran (Photo courtesy of Cori Kay Photography)


Detroit Bookfest is now on LinkedIn

Detroit Bookfest is now on LinkedIn

Detroit Bookest is now on LinkedIn!

Detroit Bookfest Page


Bookfest Event Page


Detroit Bookfest is now on LinkedIn


Fun Factoid you might not know:

LinkedIn has a 75,000-square foot office in Downtown Detroit with over 50 employees.


1515 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI 48226


LinkedIn’s new Detroit office occupies the Sanders and Grinnell buildings at 1523 Woodward Ave. // Image courtesy of Bedrock

LinkedIn Detroit (courtesy of Gensler)

Thank you Fine Books Magazine for the coverage of Virtual Detroit Bookfest

Thank you Fine Books Magazine for the coverage of Virtual Detroit Bookfest

Fine Books Magazine Detroit Bookfest


Thank you very much Fine Books & Collections Magazine for the coverage of Virtual Detroit Bookfest!


Full article is here


And big thank you to our own media manager Louie Meizlish for his ongoing dedication to generating more awareness about Bookfest.



Yes, in addition to our limited in-person event this year on July 18, we will be running our inaugural Virtual Detroit Bookfest on our website from July 16-18.


Simple visit our homepage and you will see the Virtual event at the top.

Entry is FREE for attendees to both the in-person and virtual events!


If you are interested in being a virtual vendor, please apply here:

Thanks for the Shout-Out!

Thanks for the Shout-Out!


Special thank you to Helen & Tom Oram and the team in Massachusetts at for listing our event!

Helen & Tom created in 1994.

Their website is a phenomenal resource for locating over 10,000+ book sales in the USA.


Detroit Bookfest @

Meet DJ Seven Whales: the Official DJ of Detroit Bookfest

Meet DJ Seven Whales: the Official DJ of Detroit Bookfest

DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

I’m just tryna add sauce to the world.”-DJ Seven Whales

Detroit Bookfest wouldn’t be Detroit Bookfest without the power of music. It helps transform and enhance the event into something visceral and multi-dimensional.

We especially like the funk, the whole funk and almost nothing but the funk. Our deep love o’ great gobs of funk music was initially inspired by attending Frank Raines monthly Funk Night parties in Detroit where one discovers you can levitate without actually levitating.

For years, DJ Zig-Zag (Jason Ratcliffe) graciously spun for us since the beginning of Bookfest but life has taken him beyond the Motor City. We thank Zig-Zag for his support and will miss his vibes at Bookfest. After his departure, the first great DJ whose named popped into my cabeza was Seven Whales.

DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

DJ Seven Whales, real name JR Jones, is a native Detroiter and an eminently creative individual. He is also Market Operations Analyst @ Eastern Market and has been a treasured member of the Detroit Bookfest Committee since our inception.

Born November 30, 1989 on Detroit’s Northwest side, JR graduated Mumford High School (off Wyoming and McNichols) and went on to graduate from Specs Howard School of Media Arts with a degree in graphic design.

But most of all, JR hails from a highly creative family.


The Creative Lineage of Seven Whales

DJ Seven Whales & DJ Sam Morykwas (photo by George Gregory Clothing)

I’m into all types of music, rock, rap, whatever. I just love music.

“Growing up, everybody in my family was listening to music all the time. My dad is a big jazz and funk fan. Two of his favorites are Grover Washington Jr. and Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson. My mom loves soul, especially Erykah Badu and Sade.”

My dad was born in Detroit and played piano when he was younger. My mom is from White Castle, Louisiana near Baton Rouge and was a painter. And me, being a kid growing up in the 90’s, I was influenced by their natural creativity and all the great music coming out at that time.”



Eastern Market: pull out a map and mark it

DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

JR started working at Eastern Market Partnership in February 2014.

“Initially, I was working security. We call it CSS, which stands for Customer Support Service. Then I was promoted to Market Operations Analyst.”

I love the Eastern Market community. Our neighborhood is a great mix of young to old, artists to nutritionists, it’s very diverse. I also just love the art community in Detroit in general.”

DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

“I work at the Market with the infamous Lonni Thomas. She’s great, we have a lot of fun together. My favorite Lonni Thomas story is one time we were closing up after a Sunday Holiday Market. We were carrying stuff down to the basement and I fell slowly down the stairs and Lonni just watched me. She did help me up afterward though. It was one of those funny slow-motion can’t stop from falling falls with her just staring at me.” (laughs)

I love Detroit Bookfest at Eastern Market. It brings out the diversity, everyone, buying amazing books and materials. It’s especially impressive during an age in history where everything is mad digital. It’s also far from what you think of when you think of a typical book event. Reminds me more like an all-inclusive community block party. It makes the concept of reading and collecting books fun, especially for younger people. It’s a one-of-a-kind event, honestly. I look forward to it every year. And now I’m excited to be DJ’ing it.”

“My favorite book is ‘The Tao of Wu’ (2009) by Wu Tang’s RZA. It’s a philosophy book about the many paths to enlightenment. RZA has a unique mind, the way he puts different concepts together is interesting.”

Tao of Wu-RZA


JR Jones becomes DJ Seven Whales

DJ Seven Whales (Photo by Doug @wndrlstmedia)

JR has been DJ’ing since March 2019.

When I spin, I like to create a vibe. I spin with emotion and energy.”

“I’ve had a lifelong love of music and always wanted to DJ. My uncle took me to Guitar Center one day and showed me a DJ controller and I was hooked.”

“I gotta give a shout out to my man Sam. Sam Morykwas is the senior marketing manager here at Eastern Market and he’s also a great DJ. He taught me a lot about the craft and even gave me some equipment to help get me started.”

DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

“Mainly, I’m a house party DJ, spinnin’ the dopeness, but I love DJ’ing all types of events.”

“Don’t have one particular style of music. I try to spin stuff the world would love to hear, whether they know it or not. I’m tryna hit y’all with things you don’t know. The idea is to put you onto good music.”

“My DJ name Seven Whales came from two sources. One is the book ‘The Legend of the Seven Whales of Ngai Tahu Matawhaiti’ (1988). It’s an African legend about a tohunga transforming seven whales into seven hills.”

The Legend of the Seven Whales of Ngai Tahu Matawhaiti

“Another influence was a song in which Sir Michael Rocks talks about saving the whales. We misheard it as seven whales. The song is called ‘What do you Do’.”

“My favorite DJ’s are Kaytranada, Joe K, Detroit’s own PBH (Problematic Black Hottie), and honestly my man Sam Morykwas. My goal is to learn, not copy, but learn from other DJ’s.”


The Fun Stuff

Island Jerk Ribs w/ Guava BBQ Sauce @ Coop Caribbean Fusion Detroit (photo by: Coop)

“Favorite eateries in Detroit? Man, how much time we got? Could be here a while, there’s so many. At this particular moment in time, my top three are:”

Coop Caribbean fusion inside Detroit Shipping Company (474 Peterboro St, Detroit) “this is my guilty pleasure place”

Bash Izakaya (5069 Trumbull, Detroit)

Fat Salmon Sushi (11411 Joseph Campau Ave, Hamtramck)

“When I’m not DJ’ing or exploring the rich culinary scene in Metro Detroit, I’m usually exploring different ways to be creative.”

Ink drawings, photography, watercolor painting, etc. I also like cruising the city on my bike. You can see me riding my Fuji Absolute around town.”


Upcoming Developments

Wednesday Night Vibes Detroit

“Sam and I spin Wednesday Night Vibes every week on Zoom from 8pm-11pm. You can find the link on IG @djsevenwhales.”

We also did a commercial for the Detroit Tigers and one for George Gregory Clothing and we have some more things in the works.”

“I’m a sneakerhead, a cool nerdy kid from Detroit. You’ll see me at events. I’m just tryna add sauce to the world.”



DJ Seven Whales is available for gigs. Book him for your next event!






DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

DJ Seven Whales Detroit (photo by: Ryan M. Place)