Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Art imitates The Onion

There's an article in the new issue of The Onion -- "Detroit Mayor Throws First Brick In Glass-Breaking Ceremony For New Slum" -- that brings up some mixed feelings... on the surface, it's pretty funny, as the absurdist newspaper usually manages to be. But at the same time, it's a sad reminder of the blight that permeates Detroit, a city that was once a beautiful, thriving community not all that long ago. (Right Joe?)

It's also strange, in that these are the kinds of places I like to shoot sometimes, so it seems almost like a good idea to construct something like this as a photo location. Realistic, but without collapsing floors, asbestos dust or rusty nails. Sort of like the "pre-decrepit" ghost town movie sets out in California. But it's not like Detroit needs any more slums, even faux ones...

This shot of Natasha was taken in Detroit, and despite the leaky roof, broken glass and random trash, this is part of a residential hotel that's open to the public, and charges a fairly steep rate for a night's lodging (in one of the somewhat tidier areas of the building). Honestly, Detroit is doing what they can, but the resources are so limited, it's slow going.

Recently spent a day in Detroit shooting some abandoned spaces that I'm sure were once magnificent, but are now trashed, probably beyond hope. Even out in Arizona, we'd approach a beautiful rock formation, only to get close and see countless names carved into the soft sandstone. Why is the destructive urge so strong in so many people?


Alan Klem said...

I'm not so sure it's the destructive urge that makes people carve their names in stuff. I think it's an attempt to make a part of yourself immortal.

If you visit Hocking Hills, there's a wall with names carved into it from the 17 and 1800's. (They're the names that are more ornate and carved deeper...since people took their time to do it right back then)

While I don't condone this activity...I can sorta see why people would do it.

As for the places people tear up...well, it's most likely kids channeling their pent up frustration that later in life will get channeled into sex.

Feo Mateo said...

I have had a weird lifelong compulsion to carve VH logos into freshly poured concrete sidewalks. Hey I'm not sure how you stumbled onto little 'ol Paco Camino, but thanks for the awesome exposure.