views of the motor city

Detroit, Michigan.

Thi$ City is Mine x Nikon Photo Contest Update
Congratulations to Rich Orris! He took a great photo of Grace Potter (coincidentally shot on a Nikon, as well, I think), seen here. He’s based in the Asheville, NC area, and some of his other work can be seen here. The Nikon CoolPix P300 will be shipping out to him very soon.

And also Honorable Mention congrats to Kandi Cook! She submitted a great Jay Reatard (R.I.P.) photograph that she took at Memphis, Tennessee’s Goner Fest in 2009, seen here. She’s based in Memphis, and some of her other work can be seen here. Thanks so much for all the solid submissions, and I’ll keep you guys posted if any other contests arise, and thanks to Nikon!

Eastern Market, Detroit.

My friends, Brian and Erin, got married this past weekend way up in Harbor Springs, Michigan. Not having seen Detroit before, Jenn and I decided to fly into Detroit and rent a minivan with a bunch of friends to check out the city after driving back from the ceremony (about 5-6 hours north from Detroit, depending on traffic).

Even in the middle of summer, small ponds in northern Michigan can be pretty frigid.

The bride & groom. The gorgeous ceremony and reception were on Erin’s family’s 150-acre land, and involved a very large homemade hoop house-style structure plus a great soul DJ that came in from Chicago, among other things. Quite an impressive gathering of genuine people, there was much to talk about while we all camped in the meadow by the pond. Thanks to Erin’s family for hosting such a memorable weekend.

Lots of nature up that way, near the edge of Canada. Many frogs, snakes, birds, and lots of jerky options at roadside shacks and gas stations.

“The People At Every Gas Station is Looking For Me Because I Used A Fake SALVATION ARMY CARD.”

I had seen many images over the past few years of foreclosed and run-down homes in the Detroit area, but still wasn’t prepared for such intense urban decay, block after block, for miles in all directions. While I do, aesthetically, enjoy moments where nature is actively reclaiming man-made items and buildings, it’s important to remain respectful of the plight of the countless displaced families. Jenn and I were traveling through neighborhoods with our friends Kyle and Lisa, and they commented that it was surprising that this could happen in our country — such widespread housing failure and subsequent, rapid decay — which seems to give off incredibly hopeless vibes in many areas. I imagine many areas of New Orleans are in similar shape.

The bride, Erin’s, brother, Kevin, a super-nice guy, is the only person I know in Detroit currently, and it’s been working well for him thus far, and he’s happy – so hopefully things will pick back up slowly. It was the first time I had seen many, many large, abandoned and decaying skyscrapers in a downtown area — with all broken & boarded up windows, all the way up to the top. Also, in most other areas I’ve explored in the past, the structural abandonment hasn’t been as extensive, therefore buildings generally are more secured (never with wide-open front doors and windows), but there just aren’t the resources to keep structures secured in the Detroit area, so the majority remain fully open to the elements, having already been looted and trashed long ago.

This marks the last images from the States for a while, as Jenn and I embark to London tomorrow, to hopefully keep you updated every few weeks via new photos. Take care.

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