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Detroit

January 28, 2011

Detroit is a fascinating place. I think everybody pretty much knows the story, big, important, enormous wealth, great industries, and now poverty and decline. Serious decline. Physically, it is a very large city and at its peak had nearly 2 million people, they’re down to about 900 thousand. That leaves a lot of empty buildings and space. Thousands of buildings have been torn down by the city, but there are enormous numbers that have simply been abandoned and left to rot away. Because of its once great wealth there are many grand, historic and just big structures that are declining into ruins.

I’m a sucker for ancient ruins, but really any ruin will do. Detroit is filled with with them. If you stand in certain places and try hard–squint, block out the sounds of actual living people you can sort of imagine what a future archeologist or, more likely, some tourist on his group Perillo American Ruins tour for the summer of 2245 (5,000 future dollars, teleportation not included) will see. Though I kind of prefer to think about some zombie filled post apocalypse America.

An entire industry of ruined Detroit photography has arisen. I love them all. Camilo Jose Vergara was the first photographer I encountered doing this sort of thing. He documents the decline of specific buildings, neighborhoods, and cities, it’s great stuff. Obviously, Detroit features prominently in his work. I’m a big fan of both American Ruins and The New American Ghetto.

Ok, this post is getting away from me. I started it because I wanted to point out the photography of two guys who published a book back in May, The Ruins of Detroit, some of photos from the book can be seen at their website if you’re interested.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. r l ragin permalink
    January 28, 2011 5:43 pm

    riveting photos…thanks for a peek…of the future…

    rr

  2. January 28, 2011 6:26 pm

    I agree with ragin, really great photography and documentation of a city in ruins. The Camilo Jose Vergara website looks fascinating too, I just poked around a little and will go back soon for a closer look, thanks for the link.

  3. Fat Al permalink*
    January 29, 2011 11:01 am

    I didn’t get to look through all of them. But this one is pretty awesome:

    http://www.marchandmeffre.com/detroit/01.jpg

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