January 2011: I am preparing for my first real visit to Detroit, the city of my birth. I am a Californian, where I have been since age one when my parents packed me into a car to seek fame and fortune in LA. It is strange to be defined by something unknown but when asked if I am a "native" Californian, I answer, "No, I was born in Detroit." It seems time to investigate what that means. So I have come "home" on my birthday to photograph Detroit.

This blog is part of an accompanying journal about the project.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

EMERGENCY! and emergencies.

We rally for disaster. We rally for change.

At this moment, a day after one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history with a resultant equally powerful tsunami, the photographic community is rallying and has already created a website with prints for sale to aid Japan. The site is set up on the Wall-Space Gallery site where a print is available for $50, Ed. 10.

Mine is there: a detail in a buddhist temple in Los Angeles.

As a Californian used to fires, earthquakes and cliffs sliding into the ocean, I understand instantaneous disaster. What is more overwhelming from my perspective is the disaster that has been Detroit for the decline has been so slow that perhaps at first nobody noticed. Detroit has required years of failure for the nation and a world finally to see.

Luckily, those within the city have had it and those outside are aware. Both are moving and I am lucky to be there at this moment.

Even amid the stark wintry scenes I photographed this past January, it was clear that there is a vitality in Detroit, dormant under the snow but waiting to burst out in the Spring. This will not be the first time but I am privileged to be able to watch it again.

Finally, after almost a month and one-half of hard work on other ongoing and pressured projects, I am printing work prints of the quick shots taken during my winter visit. They are stark and, while not necessarily portfolio prints, they depict a true sleeping beauty, awaiting a lover's kiss. And that lover is Detroit itself, aided by the attention that it has itself created.

My photographic work has always been about difficult beauty. The way I see is in the detail that others often overlook. So in many ways, Detroit, a city I did not know but one I am learning about quickly, is the optimum place for me to be.

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