Detroit, Michigan, USA played a pivotal role in shaping my perception of the world. As a kid growing up in neighbouring Windsor, Ontario, Canada at a time when cable television and the internet didn’t exist, I, like most, if not all children in Windsor, grew up on Detroit media. To this day, despite being Canadian, I still can’t internalize measuring temperature in Celsius. I feel Fahrenheit and intellectually understand Celsius. Despite not living in the area for over 15 years, I find myself occasionally being asked if I’m American because of my perceived accent.
Detroit, to me as a child, was another planet. There was the America I saw on TV – the national television shows targeting middle Americans, then there was Detroit public access television and the evening news. Detroit resembled a Grandmaster Flash album cover more than it reflected The Cosby Show. This was further punctuated by the school trips taken across the border to Detroit. Then there was my late teens and twenties. Rather than further reminisce, all I can say is, often, during my time in Thailand when people would ask me why I made the decisions I did, why I travelled where I did, why I chose to stay, why I didn’t get freaked out by certain things…..after some reflection, I’d often find my thoughts moving towards the times I spent in Detroit – hanging out, working, going to shows, being hit intentionally by a car while on foot. I sort of saw it all as basic training for Thailand, despite never having lived in the city. I was always a visitor, someone who could safely return home across the border.
Anyhow, back to the city of Detroit. Back to these photos. The downtown core, the 313 area code, has gone through a lot of changes since I moved from Windsor. Neighborhoods that didn’t have names, now do. There’s a shift in who’s living in the core – a lot of the old families are moving out and a new population of artists from all over the world are moving in. I took a trip around Detroit with a good friend that still lives there and shot the following pics. I hope you enjoy them.
I photographed Belle Isle Park, an island park in the east end of the city. The photo series may be found here.