Motor City in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA
The Woodward Dream Cruise is touted as “the world’s largest one-day automotive event”, which happens every year… right down the street from me. Detroit is the Motor City, so it’s no wonder that it draws tens of thousands of classic cars and (literally) millions of people from around the globe. It’s a car lover’s dream, though I go there to photograph the people, not the rides. I live for the irony of capturing angry or suspicious expressions on people who should be all smiles.
Place you live: Royal Oak, Michigan, USA (outside of Detroit)
Place your photo was taken: Woodward Avenue, about a mile from where I live.
Can you sum up Royal Oak? Royal Oak is a suburb just north of Detroit, Michigan. It’s a working middle class neighborhood built just after World War II. It’s quiet. It feels safe.
Occupation: Artist, ex-architect
Preoccupation: Music. It’s an obsession of mine to a fault. I listen to it nonstop. Often, I’ll have a song repeating in my head for the duration of an entire night’s sleep. It’s not good.
What is a perfect day in Royal Oak? Early autumn. Dawn. Windows open. Cool air. Wake up naturally. Jog through colorful, fallen leaves. Nice hot shower. Breakfast & coffee on porch. Drive to Farmer’s Market. Peruse Farmer’s Market. Pop into Superior Fish. Drive home. Smoked whitefish & creamed herring on crackers. Pick veggies & relax in garden. Light lunch (incorporating veggies) on back deck. Drive to Franklin Cider Mill for cider & donuts (but don’t eat yet!). Drive home. Bike to Woodward (bring cider & donuts). Watch passing cars (now, eat cider & donuts!). Throw Frisbee in Memorial Park. Take turns at batting cage. Bike home. Glass of wine & pet neighbor’s cat on porch. Walk to other neighbor’s house. Wine & dine with other neighbors. Walk home. Scotch & bonfire in veggie garden. Gaze at flames & stars. Bed time. Read Gulliver’s Travels aloud. Yawn & get drowsy. Lights out. Sleep well.
If someone was visiting, what must they do? Take a trip up to the Cranbrook Academy of Art and then grab a beer at Black Lotus Brewing Company.
A perfect meal in Royal Oak? There’s so much to choose from, but I’d have to say my favorite spot at the moment is Habana Café. It’s Cuban cuisine, always fantastic, and they serve cerveza with lime and sprinkled with chili powder.
What is the best thing about your spot? The location. It’s no more than a ten to twenty minute drive to the other thriving local districts, including Detroit.
What is the worst? For the last several years, the story has been the economy. The Big Three are essentially the crux of Detroit. When they are hurting, we are hurting.
A little known fact about where you live? Jack Kevorkian lived in Royal Oak. We’d see him around town all the time. I even sat next to him in the library once. I deeply regret having never had the courage to chat it up with him.
Where is your favorite place in the world? Generally speaking, I love the Pacific Northwest. One of my favorite cities is Seattle. I always feel a certain kinship with it while I’m there.
Who are your three favorite photographers? I’m totally naïve when it comes to this question, but here goes: Daniel Eatock, Ivan Argote & Man Ray.