Searching for Dystopia IV: Detroit

Detroit was our last stop on our photoshoot tour to collect photos for my trailer of The End of All Things. In terms of subjects to shoot, we saved the best for last.

Wikipedia Commons
Detroit has suffered terribly from job loss and depopulation.  Up to 70,000 properties have been abandoned. The city is constantly struggling with the blight. Entire neighborhoods have been demolished, leaving streets which meander through acres of empty lots.

I'd read about it and seen the pictures, but nothing really prepared me for the reality of it.

From what I've read, many people in Detroit resent "ruins tourism" and consider the online photo sites to be "ruins porn." I tried to be as respectful as possible when taking the photos and to recognize that the ruins represent shattered lives.

We drove first into the downtown area, looking for a specific building I had seen marked on a "ruins map" as being visually stunning. However, when we arrived, we discovered that it's being renovated  which is awesome. So, we drove around for a bit, just taking in the sites.

It was a Saturday morning, but the streets were virtually deserted.

This was one of the "Sam" photos I posted on Facebook. Someone replied and asked if this was a photo of another ghost town, and I guess it really does look like one.

In this one, I edited out the traffic lights for the trailer, which is why they're dark.

We went to visit the famous Michigan Central Station and found that it, too, is being renovated. I was very pleased by this, even though it meant I wouldn't get the photos I'd hoped for. It's a gorgeous old building that deserves a new lease on life.

We found a nearby church freshly painted, but padlocked shut.

There were a lot of padlocked, or otherwise barricaded, churches.

We headed into the neighborhoods next, driving rather aimlessly, and that's when we saw the true, terribly sad situation the city faces.

A huge, vacant apartment building, every window missing.

 Abandoned churches.

Massive industrial structures...

Boarded-up schools.

Even an abandoned hospital


And so many homes. Row upon row of them, some burned, some boarded, some left with busted windows, naked to the elements.

There was a lot of spray painting. I was really impressed by the skill of their taggers because it seemed the tallest buildings had been decorated, often leaving me to wonder how the hell they got up there.

Some of the messages were puzzling.

But what struck me most powerfully was that entire sections of the city were just... empty.


I found dystopia. And the true face of it was stark and bleak.


The photos from this series can be found in my Photobucket album.

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