Detroit on your coffee table…

Detroit Disassembled (2010) Photographs by Andrew Moore

There is a big fat book that just came out with photos of all the abandoned landmarks in the D. It’s very “beautiful” in terms of the quality of the photography but it does not evoke much of the hardship of the place. It seeks to find the places of neglect and decay beautiful (I do see some value in this) but it is hard to swallow the pretentious nature when it is coming from some random professional photographer who was LED to the “good” spots. The book has an accompanying article from a former resident, Philip Levine, which is semi-interesting in its Prodigal Son tale of revisiting the former glory of Detroit now in an age of decay. Unfortunately it did not give a balanced view against the aesthetic that the photographer was portraying. The collection is for me another coffee table perpetuation of stereotypes and a sort of “preservation” mentality of all things “industrial decline”. When will we see a full 150 page glossy book of new and exciting places in the city?  These are interesting and valid contexts to look at but I do not see how  they seek to find THE NEXT STEP for the city. It documents and archives but it does little to MOVE forward. There are some interesting shots of an abandoned public school library with trees growing out of books. It is an evocative photograph but it is also terribly sad. Have a look and tell me what you think…

I wasn’t legally allowed to put up any photos but check out this website for a selection of images from the book: http://www.akronartmuseum.org/exhibitions/details.php?unid=1499

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