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Love of photography helps promote bike safety

This photo of Dennis Dumm was taken during his last visit to Alexandria days prior to his death in a biking accident.1 / 3
This is one of Dennis Dumm's photos that will be included in an upcoming exhibit in Alexandria.2 / 3
This is one of the photos in Dennis Dumm's collection.3 / 3

Dennis Dumm's love of photography is helping to promote the safety of those who share his other love - biking.

The Alexandria native was a biking enthusiast who rode his bike for fun as well as for transportation whenever possible.

Dumm was killed while riding his bicycle in Minneapolis on May 20, 2009. He was traveling from his home to work when a semi-truck accidentally turned into him.

Prior to his death, Dumm was planning a showing of his photography. Friends and family proceeded with his plan, and held an exhibit of his work in the metro area last summer.

Proceeds from the sale of prints at that event were donated to a bike awareness group in the metro area.

The exhibit will now come to Dumm's hometown of Alexandria in February, with proceeds going to support bike safety in the local area.

"Our goal at this point is to promote bike safety and vehicle drivers' awareness and attention to bikers and pedestrians who share the road," noted Dumm's father, Brad.

The exhibit will take place at Jake's Bikes, 611 3rd Avenue East in Alexandria.

An opening reception will be held on Friday, February 5 from 4 to 8 p.m., with the exhibit continuing through February 20.

Dumm's photography

Dumm was experimenting in a photo method called cross-processing. He would shoot slide film and have it processed using print film in chemistry or shoot print film processed in slide film chemistry.

This technique allows for vivid, unnatural colors and large film grain, resulting in texture. None of Dumm's images using this technique were digitally manipulated.

He allowed the unexpected qualities of the film, camera and process to show through.

After the accident, Dumm's girlfriend found a camera in the backpack he was carrying. She was able to salvage some of the images, including a self-portrait of Dumm.

Some of Dumm's photography can be found online at

The artist

Dumm is the son of Brad and Sue (Carlson) Dumm of Alexandria. He graduated from Jefferson High School in 1996 and obtained a photography degree from Moorhead State University.

Dumm's two favorite pastimes were photography and biking. According to his girlfriend, Christi Desautels, Dumm didn't just bike for enjoyment - it was something he took very seriously.

In a Star Tribune article that ran after the accident, Desautels noted that Dumm always followed traffic rules and always wore a helmet.

"He used to let me know if I made a mistake," she said. "He wasn't just messing around out there."

She added that he also focused on biking as a way to conserve resources.

"It was more than a hobby," she said. "The ultimate goal was to be able to get rid of his car."

Just a week prior to his death, Dumm participated in National Bike to Work Day.

Following his accident, fellow bike enthusiasts in the metro area changed their planned route for the annual Ride of Silence - a memorial ride in honor of bicyclists injured or killed while biking - so that they could bike through the intersection where Dumm lost his life at age 31.

Tara Bitzan

Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.

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