January 2, 2011

Post - Apocalyptic Detroit in Pictures

 The photographs of a Detroit in decay in today's Guardian are simultaneously haunting, beautiful and profoundly depressing.  Two French photographers spent 4 years putting together a collection of images of the lost world Detroit has become. It really looks like all the inhabitants ran for their lives within seconds, abandoning everything, after a War of the Worlds-type invasion. Inherently sad.

Thomas J Sugrue, author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, writes the introductory essay of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre's "The Ruins of Detroit":

"The abandoned factories, the eerily vacant schools, the rotting houses, and gutted skyscrapers that Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre chronicle are the artefacts of Detroit's astonishing rise as a global capital of capitalism and its even more extraordinary descent into ruin, a place where the boundaries between the American dream and the American nightmare, between prosperity and poverty, between the permanent and the ephemeral are powerfully and painfully visible. No place epitomises the creative and destructive forces of modernity more than Detroit, past and present."

2 comments:

Tegan Flanagan said...

it's weird isn't it - what was once so beautiful now has no importance at all.. I spent a few days in Romania. Seeing all those abandoned factories or the ones that were still polluting the air with their smoke made me think about how much worse it can get.

Veronika said...

The only similar state of abandonment I witnessed myself was an old Grand hotel south of Vienna. The hotel completely intact yet everything covered in almost 100 years worth of dust and decay. Can't find the proper words to express how sad I find that. And Detroit..it must have been quite spectacular. Now it's ghost town. Within such a short period of time, relatively speaking. Less than a lifetime really.