It’s been a full year since we’ve first pointed you to Yves Marchand’s and Romain Meffre’s fantastic photographs from the ruins of Detroit. About two weeks ago the british Guardian ran a great story about their work and their book “The Ruins of Detroit” (amazon affiliate link), including an image gallery with a number of photos that haven’t been seen online before. You should check them out!
The ruins of Detroit and the downfall of what once was America’s fourth largest city are definitely one of the most fascinating aspects of the “other America” – and have been a topic on this blog severaltimes before. In the latest chapter of Detroits videography, a shoe company sent Jackass-frontman Johnny Knoxville to Detroit. Not to mock it Jackass-style, but to visit the local art scene that is flourishing between overgrown façades and abandoned shopping malls – adding just another new aspect to the whole Detroit-story. The end result is the urban explorer-style documentary “Detroit Lives!”. Below you will find a trailer and part 1 of the full-length documentary, hit the jump for parts 2 and 3.
You are about to witness the exciting story of a city and its people. It will be an adventure that will open new sights in familiar surroundings. That city is Detroit. Home of nearly two million people.
Proud words that open the documentary “Requiem For Detroit” by Julian Temple, commissioned by the BBC. Words that stem from an old promotional film, spoken by one of Detroit’s former mayors. What Julian Temple does with these words and the corresponding image is so simple, yet powerful that I got goosebumps running down my spine. He took that old promotional film and projected it onto decaying ruins of Detroit’s inner city and had the voice of the former mayor echo through empty windows and abandoned hallways. A technique he utilizes more than once during the 75 minutes of this fantastic documentary. Temple talks to artists, poets, urban explorers and many others that lead him through decaying urban landscapes, telling about the rise and fall of what was once one of the most influential cities of the Industrial Age. Julian Temple says:
Detroit was the frontier city in the US, powering the American dream. What I find fascinating is the fact that it is still ahead of the game, becoming the first big US city to virtually fall off the map.
A Must-Watch! Right now right here. Hurry now, before YouTube takes it down.
Post-apocalyptic movies like “I am Legend” use special effects worth millions of dollars to create worlds that have long become part of reality in Detroit. In the ruins of Motown Yves Marchand und Romain Meffre, photographers from Paris, France, have found monuments they compare to the pyramids of Gizeh, the Colliseum in Rome or the Akropolis in Athens. The result of their photography is creepy and beautiful at the same time and provides us with another set of insights into an America that can rarely or never be seen.
Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies
and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.
The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at
some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires.