When most photographers head to Detroit, they head to the miles and miles of abandoned, broken down buildings. Award-winning photographer Dave Jordano headed there first too, but quickly realized that wasn’t the story he wanted to tell. He wanted to capture the people that, in the midst of everything, still hold on to hope.
The folks over at PetaPixel published an excellent interview with Jordano, and one that’s certainly worth a look through in full. But, being from Michigan myself, I was struck by what what Jordano said about the people in his pictures:
“The people of Detroit are proud of their history and where they’re from and there is definitely something about living in Detroit that propels them to transcend all the hardship and negativity associated with it.
In many ways, people there have been living with so little for so long with their backs against the wall that it has actually crafted many self-sufficient communities. Bartering is a common practice, community gardens are an essential part of the food chain, neighborhood watches are in effect and many residents pitch in to clean up the abandoned lots on their street.
This collective effort is something you don’t see in more affluent neighborhoods but is born out of a necessity in poorer areas of Detroit. When city services become so lean, residents will often take it upon themselves to improve their surroundings. There are two ways to look at your situation, you either accept it or you try to improve it. This, to me, is encouraging on a human, social, and personal level.”
Jordano has been photographing Detroit for a few years, meeting people from a man who built his own house with materials from dumpster diving to a man that writes inspirational messages all over the walls of a house he bought for $500. Take a look at the entire interview with Dave Jordano here.
Image: Dave Jordano