Glemie, Blues Player, Raccoon Hunter, Westside, Detroit 2011
Marcus and Bey-Bey with Memorial Tattoos on Their Chest, Eastside, Detroit 2012
Angela and Aya, Brother Nature Community Garden, North Corktown, Detroit 20110
Hakeem in His Room of Thoughts, Northside, Detroit 2012
Calvin with His Pit Bull, Eastside, Detroit 2011
Robert Standing in His Doorway, Westside, Detroit 2012
Coconut and Jeannette, Goldengate Street Squatters, Northside, Detroit 2012
Brad, Digging for Recycled Metal, Southwest Side, Detroit 2011
Melanie, Northside, Detroit 2011
Diane Sleeping, Poletown, Detroit 2013
Detroit: Unbroken Down
Detroit is my hometown, but I’ve been gone for over three decades. These photographs are my reaction to all the negative press that Detroit has had to endure over the past few years. I wanted to see for myself what everyone was talking about, and like everyone else I was initially drawn to the same subjects that other photographers were interested in; the crumbling factory interiors, the empty lots and burned out houses that consume forty square miles of the city, and the massive abandoned commercial infrastructure. It took me a week of shooting this kind of subject matter before I realized that I was contributing nothing to a subject that everyone already knew much about, especially those who had been living there for years.
To counter this, I began looking at the various neighborhoods within the city and the people who live within them. This human condition, while troubled, struggling, and coping with the harsh reality of living in a post-industrial city, does thrive, and demonstrates that Detroit is not the city of death and decay that everyone had been reporting in the media, but one that showed signs of human activity and life. However, in spite Detroit’s efforts to rebound from the depths of ruin, which is in all ways promising, my focus continues to rest on the current conditions that affect many of the poor and economically challenged people whose fate will be drawn out in the ensuing months and years to come as Detroit struggles to redefine and chart a new course for its history.
Whatever that outcome may be, I’ve found that most Detroiter’s wear their pride for the city they live in much like a badge of courage, defying all odds, openly admitting that if you can survive here, you can survive just about anywhere.
This project bares witness to the fact that Detroit is not a story about what’s been destroyed, but more importantly about what little has been left behind and those who are coping with it.