Join 3,364 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Detroit, post-apocalypse.
January 3, 2011 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Detroit, after the fall. Devastating photos by two young French photographers.
posted by CunningLinguist (69 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Most upsetting to me personally: abandoned libraries and theatres.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:30 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I predict lots and lots of hate. And, hell, I'll happily join in: Detroit is an awesome and vibrant city. French photographers? Why did they leave home, when their capital city has some of the most decrepit and run-down neighborhoods in all of Europe? I mean, come on. At least Detroit doesn't have an actual, still-functioning racial ghetto.
posted by koeselitz at 12:32 PM on January 3, 2011 [23 favorites]


Great pictures, but many of them were included here and here previously. I think Detroit needs some new ruins.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 12:32 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


beautiful.
posted by zombieApoc at 12:35 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"As Europeans, we were looking with an outsider's eye, which made downtown Detroit seem even more strange and dramatic," says Meffre. "We are not used to seeing empty buildings left intact. In Europe, salvage companies move in immediately and take what they can sell as antiques. Here, they only take the metal piping to sell for scrap. In the Vanity ballroom alone, we saw four giant art deco chandeliers, beautiful objects, each one unique. It was almost unbelievable that they could still be there. It is as if America has no sense of its own architectural history and culture."

Wow. Just, wow. For all of the pictures of abandoned Detroit we have see on the blue, I've never thought that. When I've seen pictures of old and abandoned artifacts, I think something along the lines of "these objects were once beautiful, but aren't any longer. I need to rethink some things. Geez.
posted by Hop123 at 12:35 PM on January 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thanks for posting. One one hand, totally upsetting. On the other hand, instantly triggers the imagination and makes me start drooling over the shows I'd want to put on in an abandoned theater.
posted by hermitosis at 12:35 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm founding a non-profit called Leave Detroit Alone. It'll be like a cross between a media watchdog group and a Intellectual property defense fund. Anyone who shoots a bunch of photos of its "Ruins" or writes an article about its decay has to pay a million dollars to the many people who live there who are working to rebuild it and take the opportunity of low property costs to make it an even cooler city than it is now. Because it is a very cool city.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:35 PM on January 3, 2011 [59 favorites]


Ah crap. I only tag searched their names. And their website must be new - it didn't come up as a double. But really, it is. I'll flag.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:37 PM on January 3, 2011


makes me start drooling over the shows I'd want to put on in an abandoned theater.

My friends did a show in an abandoned mental hospital in Manhattan once: very memorable.

(Is it terrible that I started thinking of things to loot?)
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:38 PM on January 3, 2011


Hop123: “Wow. Just, wow. For all of the pictures of abandoned Detroit we have see on the blue, I've never thought that. When I've seen pictures of old and abandoned artifacts, I think something along the lines of "these objects were once beautiful, but aren't any longer. I need to rethink some things. Geez.”

Yep, leave it to those glorious Europeans to show us decrepit Americans how awful we are and how badly we treat our history. I roll my eyes in shame.
posted by koeselitz at 12:41 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


We've seen these before and there's nothing new being said.
posted by tommasz at 12:44 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


These photos owe a lot -- and I do mean, a lot -- to the work of Jim Griffioen (they guy who writes Sweet Juniper and lives in Detroit). So much, in fact, I think they might ought to pay him a royalty on some of those shots.
posted by anastasiav at 12:46 PM on January 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Detroit? meh.
posted by oddman at 12:54 PM on January 3, 2011


Typical pompous Europeans not realizing that letting things rot in spectacular urban decay *is* part of our cultural and architectural heritage. No one in the First World does urban decay quite like the USA.
posted by milarepa at 12:55 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, I for one will be thinking of Detroit in a new light...

These are beautifully executed photos. But, technique aside, why bother? It has been done a million times before and I don't know if it is doing anything exciting or worthwhile with the subject mater.

Ever cruise flickr and see hundreds of macro shots of flowers? When ever I see one I wonder what is beautiful in the photo: the flower or the photo? So often the photographer is just a middle man.

Bah.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:55 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's not a lot of originality in these kinds of shots. Plenty of folks have come before and documented Detroit and other disused and falling apart places.

Originality is overrated, though, and I find these particularly haunting. Thanks!
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:58 PM on January 3, 2011


Abandoned libraries depress me in a way that other abandoned buildings don't.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:59 PM on January 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


koeselitz, I do see your point and the photographer's tone of delivery was condescending.

His point of the upsurdity of valuable historical items laying abandoned and untouched, I think, is a good one. And regardless of how badly we Americans treat our history and from a purely capitalist standpoint, if people go to the trouble to take copper wire for money, why don't auctioneers (or salvage companies) take a chandelier that could fetch money as well? It's as if these objects are worthless simply because they are old and in disrepair, but in actuality they do have both historical and financial value.
posted by Hop123 at 1:04 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


This short documentary called Detroit Lives tries to show that the people of Detroit are doing some pretty creative and positive things. I thought it was interesting to see another side of the city, something more than "look at all the destroyed buildings!" At one point in the video, a resident specifically calls out the Europeans who show up, take beautiful pictures of the devastation, and leave.

I know. I know. It has Johnny Knoxville in it. Watch it anyway.
posted by monkeystronghold at 1:04 PM on January 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Or to say the same thing much more quickly...."Here's Detroit. And here's Detroit after the attack."
posted by happyroach at 1:08 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, we've done the 'Detroit ruin' a million times. And yet, I'm still shocked every time. Not by the pictures - after all, we've all seen pictures of urban destruction after wars, and abandoned cities in faraway places. It's the accompanying thought process. This is happening in the midst of a developed nation. A nation that is still fully functional. A nation that lays claim to world leadership as the only remaining superpower. And I suppose that's what shocks Europeans. They too have seen such scenes in their own countries... in the aftermath of war. For such scenes to be possible in a fully functioning country, that has not been subject to military attack on its soil - well, it says something about that country. To me, it says there's a fantastic degree of callousness, of ruthlessness and willingness to disengage and deny. It strikes me as quite analogous to how we treat our underclass. It's how we tolerate amazing levels of homelessness. It's in the way Republicans/teabaggers can speak of "illegals", about 'welfare', and "the other". When the mainstream GOP is completely willing to destroy all social safety nets, cut off unemployment benefits to millions upon millions, deny healthcare, condemn tens of millions to poverty and hunger, and worse. It's a country that once tolerated slavery. How? That's how. Detroit is the visual.
posted by VikingSword at 1:20 PM on January 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


Pretty soon, you will be able to make an immersive 3d image mapped "VIRTUAL REALITY" Detroit just from using the data collected by these tired, predictable photobloggers.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:21 PM on January 3, 2011


They should encourage more people to come take pictures to help the economy. Spend more money while you're there, European photographers!
posted by charred husk at 1:22 PM on January 3, 2011


Does the chalk board at the St Margaret Mary School say "Finals 11/8/83" on it?
posted by klausman at 1:23 PM on January 3, 2011


This is getting really tiresome. If you have something to contribute, or want to experience the vitality that is here if you look for it, welcome to Detroit. If not, stay the hell away.
posted by texorama at 1:24 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know this has been linked before (probably on the last post of Detroit ruin porn), but:
"Something, Something, Something Detroit: Lazy Journalists Love Picture of Abandoned Stuff"
posted by neroli at 1:25 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


thanks anastasiav, but I was just a guy with a dslr and an interest in the city I lived in when I first started taking pictures of this sort of thing, and now I don't really do any of it anymore. Now I'd rather make Robocop costumes and have fun with my kids.

Camilo Vergara is really the one who should be upset about it. the last time I saw him he grumbled something about "all these guys with their 8x10 cameras, I can't compete with that" even though he's been coming to Detroit several times a year since the early 1990s.

the response that these images are "such a cliche" has become it's own sort of cliche repeated in message board after message board (and something we covered in Vice back in 2009, here). but I understand the sentiment.

the best thing I can say about these european and new york-based photographers is that some of them support the local economy by throwing a couple hundred dollars at the poor saps who show them around for a few weeks and help guard their hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cameras and equipment. sometimes the local urban explorer types help them for free, and then these guys go back to paris or NYC and sell books or huge prints for thousands of dollars.

as far as new ruins, we have them (these big photographers with the fancy connections didn't document them) but grand buildings like the Eastown Theater University Club have already been gutted (and documented thoroughly by amateurs) and newly abandoned skyscrapers like The Book Tower and the David Stott Tower have become "new ruins."

For years I've been advocating the idea that the city should do far more to encourage the sort of ruin tourism we get. Unfortunately that talk injures the pride of most civic boosters (many of whom live in the suburbs) and it rarely gets anywhere. I've been trying to get a meeting with the tourism and convention bureau for years (and finally made a connection with someone there at a party recently. The remarkable thing about Detroit is that in many cases these amazing ruins exist alongside the sort of amenities you'd expect from one of America's largest cities (good restaurants, 4-star hotels, amazing museums, sporting events, outdoor art, bike paths, etc.) as well as things you never get in big cities, like actual nature and working farms. It's a pretty incredible place to be, and if anyone is ever interested in visiting I wrote a pretty thorough guide over at design sponge, here).

I say the French and NYC photographers are welcome, but they should understand they are tourists here treading the same paths as a lot of others. A picture of our ruined train station is now about as unique as a picture of the Parthenon, and I think it's actually pretty interesting that these pictures continue to be as compelling as they are.
posted by sweetjuniper at 1:26 PM on January 3, 2011 [30 favorites]


I hear what you're saying, VikingSword, but isn't death and decay a natural part of the lifecycle? What's happened in Detroit is what has happened in other ghost towns, where a town grew based on an industry or an opportunity there - once that industry ended, the money left, and the reason for the town ended. In this case, the failure and offshoring of U.S. auto manufacturing means that much of the economy of Detroit has left. What do you think, that the federal government ought to prop up ghost towns?

Detroit will survive or it won't, but it ought to be able to go through the natural life cycle that gets it there. Pittsburgh survived the ending of the steel mills, maybe Detroit will survive, too. But when an industry leaves a place the way that auto manufacturing has left Detroit, this is what is left behind. It's sad, but places die the same way that people do. Drive around the desert in California some time to see all the ghost towns that are still there from the gold rush.
posted by MythMaker at 1:33 PM on January 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


It is as if America has no sense of its own architectural history and culture.

This is a pretty ballsy statement, considering how in the last century American industrialists stuffed their homes and favourite museums full of European treasures. Americans certainly knew the value of European history and culture then, buying up shiploads of art, if not for a song, certainly at bargain basement prices.

So yeah. J'accuse.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:35 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Detroit is the visual.
Like, totally. And it's maybe the more interesting aspect of the whole story. America as locale for disaster-tourism. (I had a friend who worked as a translator for Japanese tourists in NYC in the early 90's when things were still kind of unhinged, and he would tell us stories of how they all wanted to go to Harlem or the south Bronx, not get out of the car, but just stare out the window and gawk.) It's a real totem to the ruthlessness of 'American style' Capitalism.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:53 PM on January 3, 2011


MythMaker: "What's happened in Detroit is what has happened in other ghost towns, where a town grew based on an industry or an opportunity there - once that industry ended, the money left, and the reason for the town ended."

I was originally thinking the same thing, but the difference in Detroit is that it would be a ghost city. The sheer gravity exercised by the city's mass will keep people there no matter what. Both people who cannot leave and people who will not leave.

MythMaker: "What do you think, that the federal government ought to prop up ghost towns?"

Honestly I don't know what to do about Detroit, but simply propping it up won't help any. It would take some unprecedented national action to fully revitalize the city, like forcing all new solar panel producers to build or move there or something like that. We can't just let it die - there would always be people there and the last thing we want it Detroit to become like some post-apocalyptic gangland like some bad 80's movie. The best thing we can probably do for Detroit is to make sure that there's a firm safety net there for those who need it and make small investments to allow it to safely collapse down to a more manageable size. However, since there are no programmatic ways of doing this in the US, its going be a slow, long, bumpy process that is often misguided by the politics of the moment.
posted by charred husk at 2:00 PM on January 3, 2011


Pretty buildings, meh. Detroit has been the epicenter of nearly every important musical movement of the past five decades. So it looks like that sometimes – so what? That's part of the greatness of the city as a muse, as an inspiration. Detroit looks like the rest of America feels. And I guarantee you that I'd rather live among a few abandoned old beautiful buildings in Detroit than in that gleaming, shining, plastic pile of filth, Phoenix.

And in case anybody was tempted to forget:

[ Detroit / Detroit / Detroit / Detroit / Detroit / Detroit / Detroit / Detroit / Detroit / Detroit ]

... and that's not even CLOSE to being exhaustive.
posted by koeselitz at 2:03 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


After living in a city in similar ruin (Buffalo, NY) this stuff just hits a nerve for me. I just want to mail a giant Fuck You to photographers of the urban version of snuff porn.

Just rereading their artists' statement makes me cringe. They missed it. Detroit in ruin is not a symbol of the impermanence of things because the ruins of Detroit has been a huge constant; something more felt by locals than that distant boom time. If you want to look at the impermanence of things, why not go into one of the decrepit neighborhoods that will soon be demolished in an effort to make the city more sustainable and vital. Why not take a look at the new city life that has sprung up in neighborhoods that were falling apart.

Impermanence isn't a one way street towards decay. And to focus on just the decay is a fantastic way to display that you actually don't understand your subject. They are photographing a mangled Mercedes while Princess Di would like to have a chat.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:04 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I predict lots and lots of hate. And, hell, I'll happily join in: Detroit is an awesome and vibrant city. French photographers? Why did they leave home, when their capital city has some of the most decrepit and run-down neighborhoods in all of Europe? I mean, come on. At least Detroit doesn't have an actual, still-functioning racial ghetto.

Wait, are you being facetious? No ghetto? Oh really? I realize it'd be more obvious if the green were brown in my little image there, but I bet you can guess what's being mapped and where the northern city limit is.

The Detroit *IS* a ghetto.
posted by pjaust at 2:04 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't Detroit a victim of the move by corporations to avoid paying high (union) wages? I mean, Detroit would seem to be the natural place for, say, Honda to open a US manufacturing plant, but as long as other states can say "hey, here's the money to build a free factory and, hey, our labor laws really limit the reach of unions" the choice is clear from the corporation's point of view. Perhaps the unions over-reached--and certainly the corporations are greedy. (I'm a big proponent of unionized labor, just to be clear.)

I imagine there are fewer workers assembling autos across the US than there were in, say, 1970. But very few of those jobs are now in Detroit, relatively speaking. It's quite interesting.
posted by maxwelton at 2:05 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


pjaust: “Wait, are you being facetious? No ghetto? Oh really? I realize it'd be more obvious if the green were brown in my little image there, but I bet you can guess what's being mapped and where the northern city limit is. The Detroit *IS* a ghetto.”

I meant ghetto in the old sense, the true sense. As in "Warsaw Ghetto." As in: a place where people of an 'inferior' race are forced to cohabitate in one area. Say what you want about Detroit – and it is a city that has its problems – but at least it's roundly diverse racially, and the barriers have more to do with class. That's not a good thing, I agree, but it's in contradistinction with Paris, where people of a different race are actually forced to live in a separate section of the city, almost as a matter of public policy.
posted by koeselitz at 2:12 PM on January 3, 2011


(Basically what I'm saying is that Paris is worse. And I'm willing to argue that for a while. There are a lot of cities that are worse than Detroit on this point. I'm all for Detroit getting better, but calling it out as some pit of the vilest racial strife just doesn't make sense to me. There are very bad things that have happened there, but I can think of cities that have it much worse.)
posted by koeselitz at 2:14 PM on January 3, 2011


Wow this is the first I've heard of this "Detroit." How was it formed?
posted by Mister_A at 2:19 PM on January 3, 2011


It is as if America has no sense of its own architectural history and culture.

The Art Institute of Chicago's French Impressionist collection. QED.
posted by LMGM at 2:32 PM on January 3, 2011


Those grand ruins, the theatres, the hotels, the fantastic looking old buildings just make my heart ache. I just want to move in, clean it and fix it, live rent free, and maybe get a big fat internet connection and open a soup café where local ruin-dwellers can barter stuff and skills..... Who owns these buildings? In cities like Amsterdam, Paris, London and even Stockholm squatters move in before you can say "ruin".

also sweetjuniper, thanks so much for sharing your little robocop photo essay, he has a fan his age halfway across the world who wants to be robocop just like him next year, we both thought it was great!
posted by dabitch at 2:45 PM on January 3, 2011


These are going to make lovely visual aids for my nascent Gamma World campaign.
posted by Scoo at 3:01 PM on January 3, 2011


The Detroit Lives documentary monkeystronghold links to is good.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:15 PM on January 3, 2011


I'm not from Detroit, but I live a stone's throw outside West Philly, where you have a lot of amazing buildings rotting away.

I guess people from Detroit are really fucking tired of people shitting on their town, and that's totally understandable, but wouldn't folks in the area want some kind of attention to this kind of decay? If nothing else, maybe there'll be some folks with enough cash who will look at some of those beautiful places and reinvest in them?

Anyway, that's my hope for West Philly. W/o the bad shit that comes with gentrification, if that's possible.
posted by angrycat at 3:18 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


That documentary is great.
posted by zennie at 3:57 PM on January 3, 2011


Abandoned libraries depress me in a way that other abandoned buildings don't.

An abandoned grand pianos.
posted by the noob at 3:59 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


People really don't like having their cities criticised by foreigners do they?
posted by Summer at 4:07 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, are you being facetious? No ghetto? Oh really? I realize it'd be more obvious if the green were brown in my little image there, but I bet you can guess what's being mapped and where the northern city limit is.

The Detroit *IS* a ghetto.
So what are you mapping, exactly? Why don't you tell us.
posted by delmoi at 4:37 PM on January 3, 2011


People really don't like having their cities criticised by foreigners do they?
The problem is that it's just a cliche at this point. We've been seeing images like this for years, often of the exact same places. Usually the pictures are by Americans. People are annoyed because apparently Detroit has been being revitalized somewhat in that time, yet people want to focus on these old ruins.

I've actually seen a picture of one of those "ruins" that actually was restored.
posted by delmoi at 4:40 PM on January 3, 2011


Meh. Photos of urban decay are like shooting fish in a barrel. I mean they're good<>...but it's easy to capture this sort of material.
posted by Jimbob at 4:43 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone looking to buy four giant art deco chandeliers? They are beautiful objects, each one unique and it just so happens they are newly available...

Anyway, enough of the Detroit decay porn already. If I were 20 years younger, and a whole lot wealthier, I would buy this and try and turn into something really cool. What I don't know but at least it wouldn't be going to waste.
posted by MikeMc at 4:45 PM on January 3, 2011


Same old. Same mixed feelings.

Just literally finished the move from the Woodbridge neighborhood to downtown Detroit proper (well, Grand Circus Park) yesterday. Feeling all kinds of mixed-up things right now about this town. Mostly good, and good enough not to really get pissed at the purveyors of ruin porn tonight. Mostly just dropped in to make sure sweetjuniper got his shout-out. Happy new year from Detroit, everyone.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:24 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


too bad MikeMc, that castle was demolished about a month ago.

hey Joe, hope we run into you now that you're downtown.
posted by sweetjuniper at 6:10 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can somebody explain why people are wandering around in the middle of the street in the Woodward Avenue shot? Looks like something from The Walking Dead, it does.
posted by bovious at 6:20 PM on January 3, 2011


What I can't understand is why people aren't grabbing those things and recycling them. You could make thousands of dollars on Ebay just by grabbing artifacts. Someone with demolition experience could probably make a full-time business out of recycling pews, wood paneling, windows and and doors.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:48 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like these photos, regardless of the motivation. It really jogs the brain to see pictures of places like this from *any* city. We think, in our mind's eye, of cities being alive, like people. no matter how many times I see a picture of a dead person, it's always at least a little bit shocking. Same for these Detroit photos. Shocking, and thought provoking. Good work.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:56 PM on January 3, 2011


Most upsetting to me personally: abandoned libraries

What the fuckety fuck?! The books are still in place?! Don't they have yardsales or something, before they close libraries? Don't people, you know, simply take those books from an unguarded, abandoned place? Can't some organization just collect all of these and ship them off to, I don't know, those libraries that NaNoWriMo used to build in Cambodia and Laos? I guess my shock is like that these French photographers have had about abandoned chandeliers, except that it's for something useful, books.

On a more composed level, Dali-isque image is gorgeous.
posted by the cydonian at 9:29 PM on January 3, 2011


What I can't understand is why people aren't grabbing those things and recycling them.

(I am a former Buffalonian so pardon the Buffalo-centricness of all this)
People do all the time. Organizations like Buffalo Reuse deconstructs old structures and sell the parts locally. Of course, far less ethical people have stripped half the stained glass out of the city and sold in in New York or Toronto for a hefty sum. When groups like Reuse are done, there is a vacant lot left. When looters are done there is a mangled home that will still cost the city thousands to demo but has absolutely no value left in it for rehabbing.

The people that go into these structures, loot what they can, and sell it on ebay are parasites and should be shot on sight. They actively make struggling cities less habitable. They salt the earth. I kindly ask that for any such individual you know your MeMail me their name, address, and a list of their fears.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:20 PM on January 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Mostly these sorts of images make me think of post-Imperial Roman cities; people living amongst the increasingly-decrepit remains of cities they no longer have the wherewithal to maintain.
posted by rodgerd at 10:30 PM on January 3, 2011


Basically what I'm saying is that Paris is worse
There are about 35 square miles of ruins in Detroit. That's about the size of Paris, which may be a little decrepit here and there, but not entirely in ruins.
posted by elgilito at 1:21 AM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who owns these buildings? In cities like Amsterdam, Paris, London and even Stockholm squatters move in before you can say "ruin".

Maybe in Socialist Europe, but America believes in property rights.
posted by acb at 4:46 AM on January 4, 2011


I live in Philadelphia. Detroit? Big deal.

Also? We're next.
posted by SPUTNIK at 5:22 AM on January 4, 2011


elgilito: “There are about 35 square miles of ruins in Detroit. That's about the size of Paris, which may be a little decrepit here and there, but not entirely in ruins.”

Well, part of my point was that the social dimensions dwarf the physical dimensions. But that's an interesting factoid there. I'd like to know more about those 35 square miles.
posted by koeselitz at 7:14 AM on January 4, 2011


While I don't live in Detroit any more, I'm a native. I recently took a Baltimorean urban planner friend to Detroit, on her request.

What shocked her the most was not the decay, but that the decay was a block away from well-kept mansions. She was also stunned by the beauty in Detroit, things like the lobby of the Fisher Building.

She just kept repeating, "How can they not see this?"
posted by QIbHom at 7:47 AM on January 4, 2011


People do all the time. Organizations like Buffalo Reuse deconstructs old structures and sell the parts locally.

Seconding that. Here in Rochester, we have Rehouse. They're great if you're doing renovations, they have the cheapest appliances.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:13 AM on January 4, 2011


Summer: People really don't like having their cities criticised by foreigners do they

Not when every single post on mefi about Detroit is a post about Detroit in ruins or what a horrible ghetto Detroit is.
posted by blucevalo at 8:20 AM on January 4, 2011


Holy crap, sweetjuniper, I can't believe you're on metafilter! On second thought, of course I can! I love your work! I'm all giddy now! Exclamation points! Agh!
posted by staggering termagant at 11:55 AM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


From all the way over the other side of the planet, it's hard not to picture Detroit as this post apocalyptic wasteland, deserted and empty except for the photographers with their shiny new DSLRs. It's still a functioning city right?
posted by oliyoung at 4:34 PM on January 4, 2011


oliyoung: “From all the way over the other side of the planet, it's hard not to picture Detroit as this post apocalyptic wasteland, deserted and empty except for the photographers with their shiny new DSLRs. It's still a functioning city right?”

Seriously, please, please watch that documentary "Detroit Lives" that monkeystronghold linked above. It's been linked here on MeFi before, and it's quite good. Detroit is not a war zone, though it's got some urban decay, and that documentary is honest and direct about that. And it's really nice to see video of people who actually LIVE in Detroit. Normal people. Sometimes awesome people. It's a living city.
posted by koeselitz at 5:51 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The episode of Detriot 187 that aired this week on ABC had a derisive portrait of "urban explorers" and a French filmmaker who'd come to Detroit to "document the decay."

Two of the cop characters were talking about their distaste for this sort of thing and one made a comment to the other along the lines of, "Yeah, they never pan left or right in case they catch any of the new buildings going up or old buildings being restored."

Ripped from the headlines, people.
posted by 100watts at 9:34 AM on January 7, 2011


« Older In 2006-2007, while Capt. Owen Honors was second-i...  |  Do you use RSS? Not many do,... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments