Detroit is my hometown, but I’ve been gone for three decades. These photographs are my reaction to all the negative press that Detroit has had to endure over the years. I wanted to see for myself what everyone was talking about, and like everyone else I was initially drawn in by the crumbling factory interiors, the broken down infrastructure, and the empty houses and office buildings that make up a third of the city. It’s been termed “Disaster Porn” and it can be an intoxicating visual drug. But this aspect of the city has been well documented by several other accomplished photographers who have preceded me, so my focus shifted towards the many small neighborhoods that make up the ethnic, racial, and social fabric of the city and the people who live in them.
This human condition, while troubled, struggling, and coping with the harsh reality of living in a post industrial city that has fallen on the hardest of times, does thrive, and demonstrates that Detroit is not an empty, hollow town devoid of any life, but one that shows signs of activity and movement. My hope is that this work will convey in some small way that Detroit is a microcosm of several communities, built on perseverance, clinging to the vanished ideals of an urban oasis that once prided itself as one of the most beautiful and prosperous cities in America, at one time a model city for all others to follow.
For better or worse, and if you ask anyone who lives here, its been pretty much worse. But, most Detroiter’s wear their pride for the city they live in much like an honored badge of courage, defying all odds, openly admitting that if you can survive here, you can survive just about anywhere.
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