This beautifully shot architectural street photography essay was selected as a finalist in the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2016. Discover more inspiring work from all the winners, jurors’ picks and finalists.


With this project—a continuation of my previous work in Detroit—I wanted to show that there are many small, independently-owned shops and offices that maintain a presence in the city. Instead of featuring the people who struggle to inhabit Detroit, Detroit Nocturne highlights the stores that comprise my city.

With the media focused on Detroit’s rebirth and revival, it’s important to note that many neighborhoods have been surviving for years, relying on self-determination to stick out decades of economic decline. Couple these long-timers with the renewed spirit of the city and you find a compelling mix of residents—both new and old—who challenge the stereotypical notion of Detroit’s decline.

These structures are a mirror of the ongoing story that is Detroit, a city desperately trying to hold on to what is left of its social and economic fabric.

I chose to make these images at night not only to put more emphasis on their surroundings, but also because I wanted to introduce a moment of quiet and calm reflection. These nighttime landscapes seem unfamiliar and therefore provoke contemplation. Pieces of the past, present, and future are rendered here to be carefully considered. They are, after all, the physical evidence of the city where we once carved our collective ambitions and lived out our dreams.

—Dave Jordano