Sunday, January 11, 2009

Detroit, decaying

I'm interrupting the calendar series to post some links about Detroit. had a link to a stark article about the ways big and small that Detroit is dying. It's a wrenching article, very hard to read but not one you should skip. There was also a link to a Detroit photographer who is blogging the decay of the city, and that is equally wrenching and important to see. They don't even have working fire hydrants anymore. How can that be?

I have grown to love Detroit over the years; it's ugly and sad and broken, and it hurts to see an American city brought down to its knees like this. (In comparison to Detroit, New Orleans is thriving.) But it has been trying to recover, and many of my photographs that I take when I am there celebrate that. The article and blog above force me to acknowledge that the growth there has been is still far surpassed by the decay and desperation that remains. For every step forward, Detroit is still fifteen steps behind.


I took this on Christmas Eve day 2007. That white bundle is a homeless person sleeping above the steam grate for warmth. (The steam grates are frightening things, imo; at night they make the streets feel threatening when all you see are shadows of people walking out of the smoke. They're used for a purpose in movies, and it's all the more unsettling in real life.) The thing about this photo that is the most unsettling is that this is the "nice" part of the city, between Greektown and the RenCen.

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