July 1, 2015

Photography By David J. Thompson: "Detroit"

David J. Thompson's photos have appeared in a number of journals both in print and on-line. He lived in Detroit from 1997 until last October. He has been traveling since then.

Please visit his website at ninemilephoto.com.


“Men lived within these foundries, hour by hour;
Nothing they forged outlived the rusted gears
Which might have served to grind their eulogy.”

    from Philip Levine’s “An Abandoned Factory, Detroit”

I don’t know what possibly remains to be said about Detroit, its past, its present, or its future. I’ll leave that to those better informed and more opinionated than myself. I do know, however, that Detroit possesses, to borrow from Yeats (and whom better to borrow from, really?), “a terrible beauty.” I lived in the area for sixteen years, and I admit that I don’t know the city nearly as well as I should, but wherever I go in the city, I see things screaming to be photographed. Detroit is rich with all kinds of compelling street art, odd attractions, and moments of decay and abandonment that force me to stop and take a long, second look.
I took these photos over the course of a few days back in May. They are from a variety of neighborhoods around the city. Some of them are from well- known areas, others much more off the beaten track. It is, of course, only a small sample, but I hope they offer some visual sense of the Motor City (I apologize for using that term, but I’m pretty sure there’s a rule that you have to use “Motor City” at least once when writing about Detroit). Whatever Detroit’s reputation, I do think it’s a fascinating place that deserves to be seen. Maybe these photographs can be just a small step in that direction. ~David J. Thompson


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