Detroit: Then & Now
April 1, 2014 11:09 AM   Subscribe

The latest project of is Detroit: The Evolution of a City, showing incredible then and now photographs with a sliding interface, so you can see the changes (good and bad) across the decades. It's broken up into five sections: A Growing City, Deindustrialization, Unrest, Decay, and Revival. Previously from detroiturbex: Cass Tech superimposed photos. posted by wikipedia brown boy detective (11 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Very well done. I'm glad they actually went to the effort to properly line-up the before and after pics.

Most before/after photography attempts seem to end with "Eh, we don't have time to borrow a step ladder, use a different lens, or--heaven forbid--send the photographer back to try again. Pretty close is good enough."
posted by General Tonic at 11:21 AM on April 1, 2014

I'm glad they actually went to the effort to properly line-up the before and after pics.

Yeah, very nicely done, but digital editing was involved: "To achieve a relatively seamless transition between old and new photos, most images have been digitally altered in some way. Alterations may include cropping, rotating, erasing and moving some elements within pictures. Both original photos and current photos are no longer completely faithful to the original images, and should be considered composite works."
posted by effbot at 11:33 AM on April 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thanks for posting. This is great.
posted by The Deej at 11:39 AM on April 1, 2014

Yeah, very compelling. One caption made me go "really?":

the high cost of maintaining the building and poor test scores outweighed the advantages of keeping it open.

I can see the former, but the latter seems solvable. I hate charter schools and all they imply about our society, though, so I'm biased.
posted by maxwelton at 12:32 PM on April 1, 2014

I've been following this photographer for a few years now. Does beautiful work. The photos taken of Detroit ruins are always eerily beautiful. I'm happy that, in some cases, there is now something to put next to it as a better "after" pic.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:43 PM on April 1, 2014

Really cool!

One bit of tangential sadness: Old photos like these make it seem like all buildings used to have lots of character, as if the only materials and techniques available at the time were ones that looked good. It's sad today that there are so many stucco and cement facades that just look so cheap and thoughtless.
posted by cman at 12:54 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Revival"? ORLY?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:59 PM on April 1, 2014


i may be from outstate, but i know 2 things

1 - if it's not dead, it can be revived, and it's not dead

2 - detroit and its metro area is one of america's great cities - not was, is
posted by pyramid termite at 3:49 PM on April 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Great series. I enjoyed it a lot and my 4-year-old was fascinated. (And wanted to know why it was always raining in the old photographs!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:50 PM on April 1, 2014

I've never been to Detroit, but these make me very sad.
It's like a collective wave of thoughtlessness took over the town.
I understand there must be solid financial reasons for knocking down beautiful old buildings, and I suppose seeing them rotting and abandoned is even worse, but it just wilts my heart to see the stark concrete slabs that replaced them.
posted by bystander at 2:50 AM on April 3, 2014

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