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, March 4, 2016

Two Additional visits to Detroit - Now Five Years(!) and Recent News

Since the last post in October 2015, two more visits to Detroit have filled in many blanks in terms of my quest to define my birth city, not only for me.

My latest visit in January 2016 was celebratory not only for my birthday but also for my 10th visit there in five years for my DETROIT:DEFINITION photographic project. It has been my luck to have been in Detroit at this moment.

From the day the project commenced - my January birthday in 2011 - Detroit has changed rapidly and dramatically.

In local, national and international news in that first January, Detroit was about decades-long devastation, unemployment, population reduction and ruin. And so it seemed, on that very first visit and cold, wintry impression.

That said, what had not then and still has not changed: the warmth, persistence and determination of its residents to forge ahead and work for change.  In this sixth year now, that change is happening quickly and Detroit's presence to the world is not about despondence but about growth, community and enterprise, developing now not only in the downtown area but expanding out to its metropolitan suburbs.  It is a story continually evolving and one that continues to intrigue me.

For the visit, among many other subjects, I wanted to capture a sense of the early industrial history of the city and that history seemed best approached in the midst of a Detroit winter.

It has been such a busy year+ that not even all of my images are yet downloaded but here is one from that series.

There will be more to come, not only from this traditional industrial view but from new and exciting enterprises, but in the interim there is GREAT NEWS: At this year's prestigious 2016 Venice Architectural Biennale, the US Pavillion is featuring Detroit and as an adjunct to the proposals by amazing architects for the project, 20 photographs representing Detroit have also been chosen in competition and one of them is mine!

My Venice Architecture Biennale participation announcement (with explanation of the image as well) can be viewed at

I am also more than delighted that many of the newspapers and other media announcing this photographic competition award have chosen my exhibition image as their lead photo, including the front page announcement from the Detroit Free Press! 

My thanks always to this city for allowing me so to learn so much about it.  The project continues as I work not only to capture the remaining of my "to do" list but to formulate the book/exhibition project.

No comments:

Post a Comment