New Moon in Detroit, Michigan
Christmas Eve, 2011
One of the things I love about Detroit is how quiet it can get at night. It wasn’t always this way – its changed a lot since I was a kid. But, depending on where you are, it can feel almost rural. Poletown is an exceptionally desolate neighborhood, decimated by 50 years of population loss, and a massive GM plant built in the 80s that has been slowly languishing as well. Houses there continue to foreclose or go vacant, and then its usually a matter of time before they’re torched. People still lived in this columned home a few years ago, but now its the only standing structure on the block. I’m not typically attracted to photographing decaying homes, but this night was exceptional: a still and clear Christmas eve, and the quietude that comes with winter holidays has always been a favorite time of mine to go out shooting. It was a new moon that night, and the hollow of a circular window in the pediment seemed to frame the unseen orb. There was something peaceful, almost mystical, about that night – I can still feel it when I look at this photo.
Place you live? Detroit, Michigan
Place your photo was taken? Grandy Street, a remnant of the Poletown East neighborhood, about a mile from my studio / home in Detroit.
Preoccupation? Ancient prehistoric wisdom
What is a perfect day? Having a free schedule to do whatever the hell I want.
If someone was visiting, what must they do? Don’t believe the hype. There are a lot of Detroit mythologies out there, but I’d say take everything you read or hear – the good and the bad – with a grain of salt
What and where is a perfect meal in Detroit? People talk about the Coney Dog as a quintessential Detroit food, but I think of it more as an occasional late night drunken splurge, or maybe a hangover meal once or twice a year. A perfect meal depends on the day. Curries at Alladin’s, stuffed cabbage at Polonia, kartoffelpuffers at the Rathskeller, tacos at Nuestra Familia, kabobs at La Shish, soul food at Bakers Keyboard Lounge, crepes at Le Petit Zinc, dim sum at Shangri La, mussels at Cadieux Cafe, pizza at the MC Brewery, raw food at the Zen Center, olive burgers at Forans, and the best BLT in town at Honest Johns.
Tell us a locals only tip: Most Detroiters cringe at nicknames like “the D,” and if they don’t, they are most likely D-bags.
A little known fact about where you live? Before cars, stoves were Detroit’s leading industry. And before that, from the time of the Civil War, it was cigars.
Where is your favorite place in the world? Every place is different – and I like too many places to choose a favorite. I love the learning that comes through traveling, and I really want to go just about everywhere on Earth.