Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Photographer working in Detroit

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    White Lake, Ontario.
    Posts
    339

    Photographer working in Detroit

    This morning on CBC radio I listened to an interesting feature interview with James Griffioen who lives and works in Detroit documenting the decaying side of this hard-hit city. I did not know of him till this morning and visited his website. He is a Michigan-born lawyer who left a promisoing law practice in San Francisco to return to Detroit and raise his family there. Compelling work on one of the nastiests cities in the US. Check it out.

    http://www.jamesgriffioen.net/

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    953

    Re: Photographer working in Detroit

    Some of the best contemporary large format work I've seen. I wouldn't call Detroit a nasty city, just an extreme victim of economic hollowing-out.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    245

    Re: Photographer working in Detroit

    It is great work, thanks for the link.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Westminster, MD
    Posts
    1,653

    Re: Photographer working in Detroit

    Wow!

    Powerful. Haven't been to Detroit in over a decade, it is depressing to see the implosion of a once great city.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  5. #5
    Terence
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    391

    Re: Photographer working in Detroit

    Amazing to see what post-apocolpyse looks like in real-time. It'll be interesting to see if it all just reverts back to prairie or farm land.

    He has cajones the size of church bells to wander around with a camera there. I've done it a few times in Newark, NJ and I chalk it up to being some of the stupidest things I've done. I keep toying with heading to Detroit, but the lack of armed escort always seems to kill the plans.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    2,051

    Re: Photographer working in Detroit

    This kind of decay is not new. It has happened throughout history - where one culture is abandoned or replaced by another. Cultural evolution so to speak. As photographers though, we have a rare opportunity to document the transitions in all their ugliness and glory. Images can make a powerful statement about this kind of evolution as witnessed by Mr. Griffioens' work.

    Reminds me of a series I focused on in the early seventies when I freely roamed the ruins of the Union train station in Worcester MA. There is a erie feeling in such places
    that seems to convey a sense of wonder at it all but at the same time delivers an intensity of purpose and focus that can produce some great images.

    Nice stuff.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Summerville, SC
    Posts
    1,372

    Re: Photographer working in Detroit

    I lived for seven years in Detroit, and another 24 in a nearby suburb. I've seen many of these places, and I think he has really captured the place.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    trying to escape Michigan and Illinois
    Posts
    368

    Re: Photographer working in Detroit

    Not to detract from what he has done, but there are literally dozens of photographers in Detroit (myself included) who have been doing the same thing for years. Some of us present positive images as well as the negative. Some pander exclusively to the lowest common denominator, if you will.
    Strange, but there was another large format photographer, an immigrant from Easter Europe, who set out and made a great book about Detroit's architecture, because somebody pissed him off by making denigrating remarks about the city. I came upon him while preparing to make an image downtown a couple of years ago. Fascinating individual.

    Funny how his book of excellent photography has not, to my knowledge, been featured by the major media...

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    trying to escape Michigan and Illinois
    Posts
    368

    Re: Photographer working in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Terence McDonagh View Post
    Amazing to see what post-apocolpyse looks like in real-time. It'll be interesting to see if it all just reverts back to prairie or farm land.

    He has cajones the size of church bells to wander around with a camera there. I've done it a few times in Newark, NJ and I chalk it up to being some of the stupidest things I've done. I keep toying with heading to Detroit, but the lack of armed escort always seems to kill the plans.
    I have wandered Detroit for the last 6 years with Hasselblads, Speed Graphics, 8x10 and 11x14 cameras, and a Fuji S3 (brand new), not to mention several professional grade lenses, to boot. I carry no gun, and never felt the need for an armed guard.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    trying to escape Michigan and Illinois
    Posts
    368

    Re: Photographer working in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Toyon View Post
    Some of the best contemporary large format work I've seen. I wouldn't call Detroit a nasty city, just an extreme victim of economic hollowing-out.
    Exactly.

    That is why I am trying desperately to escape.

    Detroit is a blue collar town, as is the whole of SE Michigan. Unfortunately, several generations of blue collar traditions have precluded the adaptability of the general populace. Detroit is on an international border, has a once magnificent island between it and Canada, and some of the most extraordinary architecture to be found in the States. Yonge Street in Toronto is analogous to Woodward Avenue in Detroit, with the benefit of an international border thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, the insightful, progressive, visionary attitude that made Toronto what it is today does not predominate in Michigan. The suburbs and the city have been at war for nearly 40 years. It is difficult to make progress under such inauspicious circumstances.

    I have a friend, from New Brunswick, originally, who told me I should assemble the photographs of decay I have made into a body of work. I was going to do this, and call it Hurricane (name redacted here, so as to avoid tempting the moderators to delete this post for political content). I think my take on the subject reflects a completely different point of view, given much of the same subject matter.

Similar Threads

  1. Photo.net: Featured Photographer Quang-Tuan Luong
    By Kerry L. Thalmann in forum Announcements
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 8-Jan-2009, 11:41
  2. Replies: 20
    Last Post: 10-Dec-2008, 16:57
  3. i need job as photographer
    By mohammad ashraf modi in forum Announcements
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 6-Jun-2002, 02:40

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •