Detroit: Unbroken Down
Detroit – Unbroken Down
Detroit is my hometown, but I’ve been gone for four 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 a third of the city, and the massive abandoned commercial infrastructure. It took me a week of shooting this kind of subject matter to make me realize that I was contributing nothing to a subject that most everyone already knew much about.
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 that has fallen on the hardest of times, does thrive, and demonstrates that Detroit is not the city of death and decay that everyone was reporting in the media, but one that shows signs of human activity and movement. However, not withstanding the recent press about Detroit’s efforts to rebound from bankruptcy, 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 continues 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 an honored badge of courage, defying all odds, openly admitting that if you can survive here, you can survive just about anywhere.
This personal project is not about what’s been destroyed, but more importantly about what’s been left behind and those who are coping with it.