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Photographer
Stephen Dawson
Posts: 29,246
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


This is quite the photo series. Not sure which the best forum would be, but this seemed fine.

Photographers are Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.

http://www.marchandmeffre.com/

Haunting
Nov 29 12 05:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
MoRina
Posts: 5,669
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US


Thanks for sharing.

I grew up in the outskirts of Detroit.  It is a shame to see such a formerly majestic city become what it is today.

My family moved to the area because my dad was hired as the chef at the Ponchartrain Hotel in the early 70s.  "The Ponch" was the place to be back then.
Nov 29 12 05:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
The F-Stop
Posts: 1,455
New York, New York, US


OOOOooooooo great location to shoot.... I'm on my way!
Nov 29 12 06:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Managing Light
Posts: 1,846
Salem, Virginia, US


"Haunting" is the right word.

This is a national disaster, but it seems that not many care - especially the people in DC who are supposed to be the caretakers of our country.

OTOH, what is the solution?
Nov 29 12 06:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NounStudio
Posts: 1,605
Sarasota, Florida, US


as a former resident of the detroit area...

the photos are sad, but shooting in the "ruins" of detroit is old hat.  it's been a playground of sorts for locals to do some urban exploration for the last 15 yrs or so. 

while the decay of the landmarks is saddening, it's the decay of the people and infrastructure that is worse. 

i was always amused when people would see detroit for the first time... they just assumed that it was like most other major cities....  their expressions would go from surprise to sadness.
Nov 29 12 06:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Top Level Studio
Posts: 3,232
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


The pictures look like something from Chernobyl.  It's hard to believe a major city in a rich country could decay like that.

And yes, I agree that the human cost is much higher than the loss of real estate value.
Nov 29 12 07:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tom deL
Posts: 3,694
Lexington, Ohio, US


Nice! And great that they used equipment and/or post production that could handle proper perspective control.

Now just waiting for the suggestion from an MM'er that they should have hired him as a location scout.

Edit
Prescient or what? ;-)
Nov 29 12 07:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 36,294
Columbus, Ohio, US


Things are happening.....Dan Gilbert is currently on a buying & job binge in Detroit, amongst others.

That said....nothing can replace what is already gone, and a whole hell of a lot is gone from the days of my youth.
Nov 29 12 07:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rfordphotos
Posts: 4,634
Antioch, California, US


Stephen Dawson wrote:
This is quite the photo series. Not sure which the best forum would be, but this seemed fine.

Photographers are Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.

http://www.marchandmeffre.com/

Haunting

Thanks. Amazing images. Sadly, not a unique situation, except maybe in sheer scale. The whole "rust belt" has places like this.

My folks moved to Detroit when Dad was discharged after WWII. He worked for Hudson for a while, but by 51 the boom was cooling and he had 3 jobs trying to get enough hours to get by. When Mom found out I was on the way, she told Dad she was having the baby in California, and he could come along if he liked smile She said she had seen enough winter for a lifetime, never wanted to walk in slushy snow again........

So......... I came that close to being a Detroit kid smile

Nov 29 12 08:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
toesup
Posts: 1,028
Templeton, California, US


Wonderful images of decay...

.. but..

It's really sad to see what was once a thriving majestic metropolis fall in to such a sorry state.. particularly buildings that have such a grand (or did) presence in their community.

When these grand old buildings are gone and probably replaced by steel, concrete and glass 'boxes', perhaps the loss of these stunning pieces of architecture will be realized..

.. but I doubt it..
Nov 30 12 07:50 am  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
Robb Mann
Posts: 10,156
Baltimore, Maryland, US


Given the insane distortion of that arch im sure the building has collapsed already.

Wtf lens was he using? Some kind of lenbaby?
Dec 01 12 05:16 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D0127H
Posts: 1,135
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Everyone's going there to shoot ruin porn, but finding a more imaginative story to tell amidst it all would be something...
Dec 01 12 05:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Viking Models
Posts: 1,553
Huntington Beach, California, US


Dec 01 12 05:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chris Macan
Posts: 12,791
HAVERTOWN, Pennsylvania, US


You can find big pretty decaying old landmarks in most older cities.
Detroit just has a lot more than most.

Buildings become obsolete and then sit and decay.
We have plenty around Philly and it is not exactly a declining city.
In many cases the owners don't have a current use for them,
the preservationists wont let the owners tear them down,
or it's cheaper to just mothball them.


http://hiddencityphila.org/
Dec 01 12 05:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Farenell Photography
Posts: 17,912
Albany, New York, US


As an urbexer, I'm always fascinated its like they were there one day & just up & left on another day.

Furniture still there, records of all sorts still there...
Dec 01 12 06:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BBH Photography
Posts: 90
Windsor, Ontario, Canada


I shot some ruin pics this past weekend. I just like architecture, ruins or not. Some graffiti is well done there. I also stood on the roof of an  abandoned apartment house and got some great skyline shots.
Dec 03 12 08:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 36,294
Columbus, Ohio, US


Robb Mann wrote:
Given the insane distortion of that arch im sure the building has collapsed already.

Wtf lens was he using? Some kind of lenbaby?

Actually the owner just replaced all the windows in the building. Not out of true desire to do good, but just trying to curry favor with the public for his pet ballot proposal.

The proposal went down in flames, I'm sure Matty won't spend another dime on it. Which is sad....he could re-hab that entire building, spend 400 million in doing so and still probably be a billionaire.

Dec 04 12 09:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
-Ira
Posts: 2,180
New York, New York, US


Nice series of landscapes.  I especially like "Melted clock, Cass Technical High School".  Reminiscent of Dali.
Dec 04 12 09:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
I Ference Photography
Posts: 1,152
Rochester, New York, US


Detroit is pretty well-worn territory at this point.  Not that it's not always good to have further documentation of buildings that'll almost certainly meet with a wrecking ball, but the country is full of abandoned buildings, many of them more interesting and less photographed than the ruins of Detroit.

$0.02
Dec 05 12 08:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
dcsmooth
Posts: 1,163
Detroit, Michigan, US


The problem is that these photos only show big buildings. You have to actually drive through what is left of the neighborhoods to see the rest of the story. There are many blocks with no houses left, or only one house left. Probably more than 10,000 burned out or abandoned houses in the city, no money to tear them down. Even the main business streets like Grand River have areas where there are no commercial store buildings left. It has been said that the city covers way too many square miles for the population and they cannot maintain public services and utilities into the future because of that. Most of the infrastructure is many decades old, some dating to well before WW2 and beyond its useful life expectancy. We see pictures on the TV news showing underground wiring in old brick tunnels held up off the ground by plastic milk crates because  the original metal brackets holding the insulators to the side walls have rusted away and there is no money to revamp the system.

Some have ventured to say that the city could easily fit the remaining viable homes and businesses into 1/4 or less the area the city currently occupies.

City services have declined to near non-existent because the city is on the edge of bankruptcy. They often only have a few ambulances that run, the rest of them are in the garage waiting for repairs, and if you happen to be on the opposite side of town from where one is available it could take 30 to 45 minutes for response if they come at all. People often resort to transporting medical emergencies in their own private cars rather than taking the chance of waiting for an ambulance that might not come. Some have died needlessly as a result of the lack of response, which is very sad. Police stations lock the doors at 4PM, if you need to make a report you have to do it over the phone, there is absolutely no chance of them coming for anything but a serious accident or crime.

It has been suggested by Mayor Dave Bing (remember him? used to be a big basketball star, more recently a business entrepeneur) that encouraging people to move from the worst areas into the remaining livable housing would allow the city to bulldoze about half of the area and reduce operating costs, but it would cost too much to do the relocation and demolition. They are hesitant to force people who have lived in/owned their homes for decades to pack up and move, thinking most would leave the city if that happened. What do you then do with the vacant land?  Last person to leave Detroit, please don't forget to turn off the lights.
Dec 05 12 09:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Eye of the World
Posts: 753
Corvallis, Oregon, US


Humans moving on and abandoning property had been going on for millenia, Whether it is the Acropolis or the ghost towns of the old west, people move on when necessary. Funny thing is, after enough time passes, rather than being sad they become treasured artifacts.
Dec 05 12 10:32 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
dcsmooth
Posts: 1,163
Detroit, Michigan, US


This could turn out to be the first case of a major metropolitan city in the USA which declines so far that it is all but abandoned in another decade or so.
Dec 05 12 12:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Solas
Posts: 9,486
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


wow
Dec 05 12 08:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lightcraft Studio
Posts: 11,971
Delray Beach, Florida, US


I was there back in July 2011 and took some shots while there.... not nearly as impressive as the ones the op linked...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23441454@N … 278854858/
Dec 05 12 09:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Christy Yarbrough
Posts: 42
Huntsville, Alabama, US


Thanks for sharing. Heart breaking, such beauty in decay:(
Dec 05 12 09:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Darkroom Art
Posts: 636
JOBSTOWN, New Jersey, US


Great places to shoot. Reminds me of Eastern State Pen in Philadelphia. The real question is how to gain permission/access to the buildings?
Dec 05 12 09:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lightcraft Studio
Posts: 11,971
Delray Beach, Florida, US


Darkroom Art wrote:
Great places to shoot. Reminds me of Eastern State Pen in Philadelphia. The real question is how to gain permission/access to the buildings?

You won't see any cops anywhere near any of those places... they're wide open. You just want to be prepared for whatever you might find in there.

A local told me about one building that had water in the basement, and it was frozen over in the winter. Kids used it for an ice hockey rink, and were taking advantage of a frozen human leg sticking up through the ice for a goal post. It stayed that way all winter.

Dec 05 12 09:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 36,294
Columbus, Ohio, US


Darkroom Art wrote:
Great places to shoot. Reminds me of Eastern State Pen in Philadelphia. The real question is how to gain permission/access to the buildings?

For most of them? Park and walk in.

Dec 05 12 10:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
devpics
Posts: 834
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


The situation with Detroit is what has happened to thousands of goldrush & ghost towns over the years, albeit on a larger scale. It grew to be a great city because of the Auto and related industries, but a combination of downsizing, restructuring and market changes has reduced that greatly, and there was no other industry to take its place.  In an ideal world and with a bit of help and forsight something might have been done, New York for example had a decline and urban decay in the 60's & 70's but this go turned around, but sometimes it simply can't be helped.
Dec 06 12 12:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,293
Salem, Oregon, US


it would be really fun to see those pictures contrasted with how it looked back in the day.
Dec 06 12 09:11 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 36,294
Columbus, Ohio, US


twoharts wrote:
it would be really fun to see those pictures contrasted with how it looked back in the day.

Give me a few seconds.

Michigan Central was one of the greatest works of Beaux Art architecture in the country.

Here's one.....Ill find a batch.

http://michpics.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/michigan-central-station-interior.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5207/5260170764_04b7c972cf_z.jpg

Too big to post
http://www.curatorofshit.com/wp-content … 001nK.jpeg

Dec 06 12 09:23 am  Link  Quote 
Model
4nn4
Posts: 216
Alameda, California, US


i love Detroit.  i recently went for the first time and i am so happy that i did.  can't wait to go back. 

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-VtPNXqpLh1k/UHJXCB19L9I/AAAAAAAADG4/NahNTamniv0/s912/120921_Anna_Urbex_Friday-52.jpg
Dec 06 12 09:37 am  Link  Quote 
Model
4nn4
Posts: 216
Alameda, California, US


Dec 06 12 07:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Dekilah
Posts: 4,880
Detroit, Michigan, US


As someone who has moved to Detroit recently, I have seen a lot of this "ruin porn" or abandoned building shots, etc. I have multiple photographer friends who specialize in it. Personally, I have little interest in trespassing and all that. I have shot multiple times (legally) in the Leland Hotel. The ballroom there is gorgeous, you can see a few shots in it in my port.

Everybody always seems to bill Detroit as abandoned and horrible and decaying. Yes, some parts are. But the city is far from dying from what I have seen. This past weekend I went to a holiday festival called Noel Night which reportedly brought in 35,000 people last year (reference) and I would guess even more this year as the weather was mild and lovely.

The city is very vibrant and the suburbs of it (Ferndale and Royal Oak are really good examples) are even more so, from what I have seen. If the city is "dying" I have not seen any of it. Sure there are decaying buildings, but there are also buildings being restored or re-purposed from what I have heard and seen.

The art community and specifically the model photography community is awesome here. So many talented and awesome people ^_^

I know Detroit gets a bad reputation, but it really is a beautiful, lively place. And this is coming from a girl who thought she would never like a big city and is fairly cautious about such things.
Dec 06 12 07:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JMX Photography
Posts: 2,097
Saginaw, Michigan, US


My $0.02 on "ruin porn" and Detroit.
http://darkroomist.com/2011/12/30/why-i … ruin-porn/
Dec 06 12 11:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,331
Glens Falls, New York, US


JMX Photography wrote:
My $0.02 on "ruin porn" and Detroit.
http://darkroomist.com/2011/12/30/why-i … ruin-porn/

Heh, I was just going to mention ruin porn.

I think the absolute best take on this is "Pontiac," by Gerry Johansson.  Not easy to track down, but it's one of my favourite books.

http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/2012/01/rev … johansson/

There's a link to a page-through too.

Dec 08 12 03:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,846
Miami Beach, Florida, US


I was born in Detroit (actually Hazel Park, a city inside Detroit!), 8 Mile and John R (mom's family lived on East George, dad's on West George, the divider was John R). It is painful to go back to the old area, but I also have family in Pittsburgh and remember when that city went through its rough times.

Detroit is one of the world's great cities, and will be again. Detroit more than Chicago is the muscle of America, the city of big motors (Milwaukee is the city of small motors, betcha didn't know that!). Albert Speer, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich, on the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor told his wife that Germany had lost the war. She asked him why he would say that, and Speer answered: "Because we can't bomb Detroit."

Interestingly if Pittsburgh is any model, it's the arts and artists that will lead the revival. The infrastructure is there, it's a cheap place to get started, and the city's location on the Great Lakes (one of the factors that built Detroit in the first place) make Detroit an opportunity for the future. The Tigers, the Red Wings, and even the Pistons have recently had great teams, if the Lions can finally get their act together, Detroit will once again be "The City of Champions"!

John
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com
Dec 08 12 09:56 pm  Link  Quote 
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