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.

Monday, January 16, 2012

One Year

Courtyard of the College For Creative Studies, John R Street, Detroit. Sculpture: Michael Hall,

I arrived in Detroit on Monday, January 17th 2011. One year ago today. Including that first view, after almost 64 years and now three exploratory 2011 visits, Detroit has become the place for me to be.

Each day of that first visit, one of only five days, Detroit yielded a discovery, often of people, of visitations from my personal past, of scenery and sometimes, of sadness and desolation. Detroit is a complex city, one of our nation's most amazing for generations and that legacy is not one that is easily lost, even over a period of 50 years.

For the next few days on this blog, I will post comments and some visual early impressions from these exploratory visits, one each day until Friday, my 66th birthday, 65 years away from Detroit but coming closer.

Today, the arrival anniversary: CITYSCAPE.

There is a city here. One of magnificent culture and architecture. Some of it empty today but with a rolling tide of preservation and reuse that can save it. The ghosts of Detroit's trading and industrial past are still here, not haunting but rather encouraging a renaissance of it all and, yes, it is happening.

Below are several newly printed images, to add to those already on the blog in previous posts.

Two views of the People Mover, the circular downtown metro, the second dedicated to Rosa Parks, of this city and today also, on the legal holiday of the birth of the Rev. Martin Luther King, significant.

Inside the Guardian Building.

And yes, I know we're not seeing people but, hey, I don't usually shoot people so why expect any here? .... A little flippant for there is a truth: Many of the structures I see, complete on the outside, are not so in the interior. That is what I'll seek when I return but for now, the knowledge that the city sits, at times dormant yes but slowly awakening, hopefully, is enough.

New Penthouse Renovation, Book Cadillac, Detroit/ Designer: Gary Fried

As an LA person, I've seen finally - and after many years - a vibrant downtown that seems to be sustaining. Lofts are soaring. The night views of downtown avenues no longer take on the noir images we so love but do nothing for the economy. Detroit is getting ready. Cannot wait to see what happens.

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