Abandoned Buildings of Detroit

I have spent most of my photographic life locked on a tripod and locked in at iso100. My goal has always been clinically sharp and balanced composition. Shooting mostly architecture this made complete sense to me. 

An early inspiration for me was Bernd and Hills Becher. A husband and wife team. I loved how they focused on the disappearing German industrial landscape. The work is super clean and maybe not the most exciting to some but to me it was.

Another inspiration for me was a photographer named Charles Sheeler. He did some pictures from the Ford Rogue plant to to this day I find beautiful and amazing. Also, I would love a chance to shoot at that Rogue facility if you are reading this Mr. Ford. I am available for a retrospective throwback dedication shoot.

I have always loved history and the times before me. Even today as an adult one of my favorite places is Greenfield Village. I love the village portion however, inside the museum is the power and manufacturing section with an amazing collection of steam powered relics. 

Being born and raised in Detroit I believe most of us have heard we work harder here. That slogan drives me crazy! I have always felt that slogan meant…sorry we didn’t prepare for the future and left you in a world of shit. Good luck and just tell everyone we work harder. The Detroit I grew up in was empty. A large portion of buildings were abandoned and the city was void of industry. I think back to the days where I could have lied down in the road and not a car would have passed. We are talking at major intersections here. It really felt like I and the friends I met along the way had complete access to anything we wanted. 

I grew up in the shadow of the automotive industry. Witnessed the decline of the labor movement and the power of the unions. 8 mile was the great divide and the suburbs boomed due to white flight. The 1967 riots were an often talked family discussion with my family. I was always taught to begin with the end in mind. To not treat a book by its cover. I always had a thing for history and when I was younger a pretty big risk taker. It is only natural then when I was old enough and the ability to get around, I crossed 8 mile and began to explore the city. When I began this journey into photography I took photos of homeless people. For some reason I was insanely curious about the automotive industry and their remaining buildings. It was not an option to not explore. 

The abandoned buildings of Detroit is/was a huge dedication of my time with photography. To be honest it was not photography that led me into buildings. I truly just wanted to see what was inside. Soon, my camera was always with me. I spent an incredible amount of time inside these buildings. I would normally arrive two hours before sunrise as this would give me options and different looks. I spent every spare moment I had exploring, shooting and learning about these buildings. I had a training ground and at first I didn’t realize that. I had the ability to return to some of these spaces time and time again and practice. I learned how to light small and large spaces. Using natural and external flash. I should be clear about something, all my initial shooting was film. I would shoot and take meticulous notes and then reference those once I had developed them. This was my path and how I grew. I did indeed work hard but most importantly I worked smarter. Along this long thankless journey I became a photographer. I have changed as a man and learned to appreciate things I would have laughed at. I have found a lot of creatives have massive ego’s. Initially, I did as well. The funny part is my ego wrote checks I could barley cash. Ironically, this journey has made me humble and grateful.

Thankfully, most of the abandoned buildings of Detroit are now being renovated and filled with life and business. I still have an interest and when I have the time I’ll venture into a building. However, the pickings are slim. I do love the changes to the city and as mush as I miss the abandoned playground I once had this renovated city with business, bars and restarts and actually people walking around is way better.

Using Format