Saturday, March 16, 2013

Detroit Urbana


 I can here the question mark in your head. But I have a series of photos that I took in Detroit that I would like to share even though it is a subject far from the usual fare at Lost in Arles. 

I was moved by my brief time in the Motor City. The push pull energy while questioning, bitter bites of decades decay and small nickel tokens of hope raising up like flags of non-surrender. 

It is an American dilemma. 













There are a whole lot of symbols out there.


I have two more posts that I will share, also on the weekends. Food for thought, food for compassion hopefully. But if it is not your cup of brew, there is no judgement in that too.

Wishing you all well. Let's keep our eyes open. 









36 comments:

  1. Yes, you captured it! It's so shocking - whenever I go - to be at some cool place (restaurant, club) right next to one of the vacant buildings you've captured. There is definitely sadness there - in person and in your haunting photos! It's my cup of brew - I'll take a break from Provence to be reminded of what needs attention in my state! Thank you for this post!

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    1. Welcome, Sister. I really want to go back on my next visit--let alone we have to go back to Slow's!!!

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  2. My home town - once so beautiful and vibrant. Still breathing but with shallow breaths. I have travelled to many beautiful areas of the world, but this tough, gritty town still draws me in. Yes, some will wonder about this post, but I appreciate the contrast you present. Thank you.

    Nina in Michigan

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    1. Nina, it must break your heart to see Detroit's struggle. There is so much more that I want to see. I was truly fascinated and I can truly understand its hold on you. *hug*

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  3. I'll go anywhere that you take me with your lens. I have shared this poignant post with my husband, who grew up near Detroit as the son of a union activist and auto worker. I'll let you know what he says about it.

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    1. There are two other posts as well. This was just my first impression but I was really visually and emotionally drawn to the city. And lets hear it for the unions and for auto workers!!

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    2. PS. I forgot to say thank you for your willingness to go along for the ride no matter where, friend that you are!

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  4. We've traveled to so many wonderful places and yet know so little about the U.S. I think this is a fabulous 'outing' from Provence - and an educational one as well. Thanks for the tour~
    Jackie
    xo

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    1. The US is so huge and so varying it is hard to scratch the surface of what it can be Jackie. And I know what you mean--since living here have we been to Spain or Italy, both so very close? Nope. We'll get there hopefully one day.

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  5. I first read 'Milkshake Poutine' as one...

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    1. As much as I live for the sweet/salty combo, that is one bit of fusion food that I will pass on, thank you!

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  6. oh yes!

    loved these.

    there is a hand-over-mouth-horror at what-has-become of certain Places, non?

    where we grew up in england there were still bomb craters and makeshift playgrounds therein and the house plots that people had never claimed after winning them in competitions - standing empty - no heirs - from the time when there was a great exodus from england to australia and pre-internet, no one could trace them.

    and the devastation of economics.

    or just the passing of time (ancient greece, rome and bits of scotland).

    wonderful. wonderful.

    more!!!

    *wavingwithjetlag*

    tg xxx

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    1. Thank you dear tg. Yes, there is more. And history is so...hah! Of course I am not even going to try to finish that. Our old house here in Arles overlooked the Roman Baths of Constantin and yes, even those were nothing but a playground for our neighbors when they were young. So much is relative, so much is real...
      *bisous*

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  7. Stark! Great photos. I tend to love decaying Cities but I fear that this one may be dying for good.

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  8. as always: very beautiful pictures, heather.
    almost surreal. like a film setting.
    yesterday my friend marco and i have talked about abandoned places and the mysterious aura they hold.
    some of the buildings on your photos really want to make me go inside and look and take photos.
    xxx j.

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  9. Some really nice shots...well worth posting and more. Particularly like the Mercury Bar shot.

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  10. Moving photos and prose ....mille merci's. I grew up in Michigan and find it very striking, poignant. So much to address, the hope, the despair.

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  11. Amazing post! Have a nice weekend:)

    http://theprintedsea.blogspot.de/

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  12. Hello Heather,

    I have visited Detroit on a number of occasions. So much history and the birth of Motown.
    Did you see 60 Minutes recently, which featued the singer Rodriguez who lives in Detroit
    Here is the link, we found it fascinating. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7424704n

    Your images are wonderful Heather

    Helen xx

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  13. an urban tragedy brought on by a mix of racism and the exodus of whites from downtown, refusal of the auto industry to creatively face and address changing energy issues, both cost and results,pollution and global warming, some might note role of union leaders, perhaps more interested in their power and wealth, and not long term employment of the members, and more. Not only no easy solution, perhaps no solution without brilliant, creative thinking, massive funds, strong residents' involvement and commitment. I am amazed and humbled by those working there, often in small neighborhood efforts: community gardens, children's education, and more. One of their high schools was selected to have President Obama as their commencement speaker. I think I played the student made video about their school, their lives a 100 times. They had faced and dealt with more challenges at 16 than I have in a multi continent development career.

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  14. VERY sad.........it reminds me of old AMERICA.Not that we are that old...........but a time gone by compared to California.

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  15. Leslie in Portland, OregonMarch 17, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    I agree with Judith: wherever you take us, we will go. And it is important that more Americans know what has happened and what is happening to Detroit. Thank you, Heather (and Michael Moore)!

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  16. As one of your commenters said above, I also love decaying cities - with the caveat as long as there is life in them too. They often seem to breed people who are more determined, more inspired, than ones who come from pretty cities where all is swept under the carpet. I hope, and don't doubt really, that Detroit will re-imagine itself into something else, something for the times, and not be consigned to just wishing for what once was.

    I thoroughly loved this post (as a bit of roughage in the diet of the beauty of Provence, you could say - it makes for an interesting muesli of life.) xx

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  17. So sad - preserving the past while creating the future should not be mutually exclusive. Crumbling building are even sadder when they reflect the state of the community. Bon weekend

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  18. I always feel a sense of worry for America and her people, like a Mum for a child even though she's not mine. Your images tell a poignant story and please never hesitate to share xxx

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  19. I wasn't expecting this. I guess I feel a mixture of sadness (and shame) Although your shots are beautiful. I guess if we can't do anything...we can at least count our own blessings.

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  20. How moving. I've never been to Detroit but having seen photos, I really get a sense that the city encompasses so much of the hardship that the US has faced/is facing. Thank you for sharing. It really does leave me with something to thing about.

    Bon week-end :)

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  21. Sobering. Thank you for posting these photos. We have friends whose creative, talented son, a writer, just moved there and is loving it. A sign of hope? A romantic twist, he rented a space for writing in a renovated warehouse and fell in love with his neighbor, another artist. Let's have more good Detroit stories! Wanda

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  24. My mum had an uncle who moved to Detroit in the 1930s. I believe he used to work for Ford. I still remember looking at photos of Detroit that he would send in my Nanna's album. I know Detroit is going through a bad patch at the moment. It's probably not an area I will ever visit. Thanks for sharing the photos - very different from Arles - but not quite as beautiful.

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  25. So very poignant, Heather. There's a new book out called Detroit: An American Autopsy; I've been reading so many reviews of it and it strikes me you might find it interesting, too.

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  26. And an update on the politics, have you heard that an Emergency Manager has now been assigned to Detroit to straighten out the finances? It's the largest city to be taken over so far. Lots of issues there to be resolved.

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  27. I totally enjoyed the contrast between the beautiful postings from Provence, and the creation/destruction of Detroit. That city is an urban expression of the nature of mankind in all his foibles. There is a recent documentary called Detropia that hauntingly captures the dying city and its lively people. It stuck with me for weeks, and still it pops into my head with just the slightest provocation.

    www.wildnatureofny,com

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