Detroit, Michigan. A city in a much advanced state of dereliction. The epitome of a failing economy and a falling America. Is it still possible to write something about the misfortune of Detroit that has not been said already? Hardly enough. It may be even more challenging to illustrate the socioeconomic difficulties of Detroit through pictures of abandoned places, those places that became famous precisely because of their spectacular state of decay and their striking abundance in a single city that was once a prosperous one. Today Detroit is without a doubt the Mecca of “urbexers”, those intrepid explorers and photographers of contemporary urban ruins, the ruins or our civilisation’s industries, businesses, houses, hospitals, schools, churches or train stations, among a much longer list of abandoned places that haunt Detroit and many other cities of the Western world. The archaeologist that I am is naturally attracted by those urban ruins. I tried to select the most representative and evocative of my pictures from Detroit, but I can only worry about the incomplete image they can give of the city’s tragedy. Despite the absence of people in those recent photographs, what they illustrate is the material impact, the desolated scenic background of what is indeed and above all a deep social tragedy.
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