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.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reading Others, Thinking about Cities

There is no doubt that one part of the raison d'etre for this blog represents for me a place where I can wander around my photographic subject, test out ideas, reserve notes electronically for me, as well as the reader. 

Do I market the blog?  Not as much as I would like but then, there is always the question of what is a blog for?  I know that my Sara Jane Boyers Aloud Blog is very much an outlet for me to ruminate over what it is I do as a photographer, as a writer.

This DETROIT: DEFINITION Blogspot and the FINDING CHINATOWN Blogspot as well are more about specific projects.   I can refer some of you to them to better explain the work.  I use them myself as I edit, formulate my direction, note information and test out ideas.  For me, a repository.  For the reader, a peek into my process.

Thus for DETROIT: DEFINITION, today's subject is cities, the past, and the future.  Two articles posted this week, one specifically about Detroit, the other about cities in general are ones to hold with material to contemplate.

The first:   "Jim's" Sweet Juniper blog article The Fauxtopias of Detroit's Suburbs   http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2012/04/fauxtopias-of-detroits-suburbs.html

The blogger writes thoughtfully and poetically about the history and social meanings of its collection: from Henry Ford's Greenfield historic park to the suburban ones encircling Detroit.  Within this: a revealing perspective of the locale and history of Detroit's Michigan Theatre, a extant (an ironic word) example of Joni Mitchell's  Big Yellow Taxi: "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot..." 

The second:  Salon's Will that Starbucks last?  Gentrification has remade some cities and left others behind. Alan Ehrenhalt tells us what changes to expect next    http://www.salon.com/2012/04/26/will_that_starbucks_last/?source=newsletter

THE PRESENT: Today's News: Honing in on Detroit:

1. In the midst of  above, today the Detroit Free Press reports on a new arts project designed to re-introduce/re-invigorate metro Detroit: Detroit's first ContemporaryArt Festival to be held this Fall.  Thinking I might be  there.

Contemporary art festival will illuminate Detroit.  
From the article:  "A century ago Detroit had its own Electric Park, a lit-up amusement park at the foot of the Belle Isle Bridge.   The adventuresome spirit of that long-ago place of wonder returns to Detroit on a grand scale Oct. 5-6 with the inaugural Dlectricity, an ambitious contemporary art festival that promises to light up Midtown with some 30 works of site-specific installations of light, video projections and sound created by a mix of international, regional and local artists."


2. From Karen Dybis, terrific Detroit writer: 

This spring’s April showers bring … development in Detroit? It seems that way


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