Driving around Detroit you feel as if you have entered an exclusion zone. Yet there was no war, there was no meltdown and only mighty fragments from the past remain, trapped in the present. Detroit is one of the few places where you can see the past, present and future misaligned together. This is not the conventional way a city looks or feels and this is what initially attracted me to it for a visit 7 years ago. Detroit, as a large city has something almost no other city does, a sense of urban space unparalleled in North America. Great swaths of urban prairie run throughout the city, from houses that were demolished long ago, to existing homes on huge lots and where trees and gardens are now maintained by locals who didn’t flee. I have documented many different communities, some which have completely turned around, while other areas lie in wait for foreign speculators and out of city and state hipster investors, to rise.
I specifically chose to document this project with these type of camera because I deemed it appropriate and complementary for both the subject matter and the location itself. Infrared (IR) photography is an industrial photography medium that was not utilized by the public at large either in film or digital form. It was primary used by the military for reconnaissance missions to find hidden targets that could not be found via traditional photography, and also used in laboratories for different applications. I find IR images to be pure as all of the visual pollution we have in the landscapes drops off. Signs are no longer visible in the frame. Billboards and other forms of advertising also drop off. Images are cooler, contain less distracting elements. Working with an IR camera requires more technical knowledge and planning to execute. I find these images invoke more visceral reactions from viewers and tend to polarize them more vs. the exact same conventional color photograph. I discovered IR photography was the ideal way to shoot some of my topographical work of industry. Seeing work presented this way, stripped down, is quite thought provoking as distracting elements are dropped from the surface.
Photos from 2011 to 2018