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A truly amazing look at Detroit--as someone who is in Detroit a lot, I was totally blown away to see some of the insides of the buildings I pass all the time.The photos are hauntingly beautiful and I find myself returning to the pictures over and over again and finding new details in them.
While there isn't a lot of reading in this book, since it is a photography book, it still gave me yet another way to look at the city.
I enjoyed looking at the photos of the buildings on the inside and imagining what the city was once like.
"Photography appeared to us as a modest way to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state." As Detroit's white middle class continues to abandon the city center for its dispersed suburbs, and its downtown high-rises empty out, these astounding images, which convey both the imperious grandeur of the city's architecture and its genuinely shocking decline, preserve a moment that warns us all of the transience of great epochs.
Not really a book you "read" as it is a collection of masterful photographs of one of America's former "wonder cities" that is now without livelihood or direction, but an excess of ruins.
The Detroit on display is a city built by visionaries, documented by visionaries.
The photographs have broad and sweeping statements to make about many American systems and institutions--the education system, the financial sector, the industrial sector, artistic pursuits, the transportation industry, and commercial districts, all now in declines matching the physical ones captured here--and are often more interesting than the occasional accompanying text in making such statements (though it must be said that the text started on strong in the first third or so before starting to seem increasingly superfluous; it may be that the latter portions of text were created under demand for filler rather than out of any specific inspiration).The pervading sense one comes away from this book is not one of melancholy.Although the feelings provoked are tinged with sadness, one comes away with a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity, having been exposed to numerous new revelations about a city whose condition can feel familiarly both in generally (the decline of the American city, industry, and perhaps spirit) and specifically (Detroit as a sample case), as well a sense of astonishment that anything ever existed, even briefly, and of intense hopefulness that it might happen again.It is a sad book - to see places that were so much full of life, lives and hopes for at least a time, and to see the ruins of the grand ideas of those that toiled and made (or lost) their fortunes in this unforgiving city cannot help but make you shake your head.It is oddly poignant in spots as well..as a sequence around page 80 I beleve that shows the interior of a large 4,000 seat movie theater that was obviously grandly executed and decorated, and undoubtedly saw many a happy occasion.In a series of weekly photographic bulletins for Time magazine called "Detroit's Beautiful, Horrible Decline," photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have been revealing to an astonished America the scale of decay in Detroit."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," write Marchand and Meffre.The prose in the book though in the form of introductory paragraphs and captions is very interesting, and serves to provide the human "glue" behind the story these talented photographers are telling.It is a sad book - to see places that were so much full of life, lives and hopes for at least a time, and to see Not really a book you "read" as it is a collection of masterful photographs of one of America's former "wonder cities" that is now without livelihood or direction, but an excess of ruins.Photographers are too often suckered by the easy appeal of buildings in ruins into taking photographs that capture only the present, and unspectacularly at that.The photographs here steer well clear of that trap and fix themselves in a narrative continuum, prompting the observer to become almost unstuck in time, a la Billy Pilgrim, and consider, in addition to the depicted present, the uncertain future, the grand past, and the future as it must have been conceived in that past.