I’d like to consider myself very lucky. Lucky in the fact that I know the exact day I found about and fell into photography. February 17th, 1991 to be exact. If I googled I could even find the specific time. On this day my Dad and I went into Detroit and watched the implosion of Mackenzie Hall in Wayne State University.
This one moment in time really cemented an intense curioisty of Detroit and its architecture. I was only 15 at the time and though I didn’t take those pictures (my Dad did) I knew I was hooked. I started reading book about Detroit and the history. I knew very little…not just because I was a dumb kid which didn’t hurt. It’s just that I was a kid. I knew nothing about GM, Ford, or Packard. Chrysler I knew a little bit as thats where my Dad worked. I didn’t know about Albert Kahn, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Daniel Hudson Burnham to name a few.
I didn’t have a camera and cell phones didn’t exist. No car and living in the suburbs I didn’t have easy access to mass transit. As Kid Rock said, “I didn’t have no internet” which left me whatever sources I could find in the library. Lucky for me almost every library around here has a large section on Automotive history with pictures.
When I turned 16 I took journeys into the city at every chance. I would drive the streets and look up at the buildings. I did this a lot. I was often lost and driving in circles. This was before the times of GPS and I sure didn’t feel comfortable asking my parents for maps of Detroit. At some point I started to notice the people…or in the case for Detroit, the lack of.
Around this time my Aunt gave me a Pentax K1000 with a 50mm and a 135mm lens. I did a Moby Dick impression and I was hooked for life. Life just seemed to sync for me after this. I knew it was what I wanted to do and how I wanted to communicate. I soon found myself shooting everything in my path. While my main focus was Detroit I was open to anything and everything.
It is difficult for me to imagine this was 31 years ago. I am starting to grow white hair and feel some time in my bones. However, a few things haven’t changed.
-I still love photography
-I still love architecture
Along the time of shooting a theme started. I just call it Pictures of Detroit. In many ways it has held me captive for other subjects. It also has driven me to shoot many subjects and helped launch my career. It has been a voyage of intense curiosity.