Detroit is my hometown, but I’ve been gone for four decades. These photographs are my reaction to all the negative press that Detroit has had to endure over the years. I wanted to see for myself what everyone was talking about, and like everyone else I was initially drawn in by the crumbling factory interiors, the broken down infrastructure, and the empty houses and office buildings that make up a third of the city. It took me a week of shooting this kind of subject matter to make me realize that I was contributing nothing to a subject that most everyone already knew much about, especially those who had been living there for years.

This human condition, while troubled, struggling, and coping with the harsh reality of living in a post-industrial city that has fallen on the hardest of times, does thrive, and demonstrates that Detroit is not the city of death and decay that everyone was reporting in the media, but one that shows signs of human activity and movement. My hope is that this work will convey in some small way that Detroit is a microcosm of several communities, built on perseverance, clinging to the vanished ideals of an urban oasis that once prided itself as one of the most beautiful and prosperous cities in America, at one time a model city for all others to follow.

This personal project is not about what’s been destroyed, but more importantly about what’s been left behind and those who are coping with it.

Dave Jordano

Dave Jordano, (b. 1948, Detroit, MI) received a BFA in photography from the College for Creative Studies in 1974. He is an award winning fine art/documentary photographer.

Jordano has exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is included in private and corporate collections and institutions (Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Detroit Institute of Arts).

His first monograph, (published by the Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago), Articles of Faith, Small African American Storefront Churches of Chicago, was released in 2009. His current project Detroit: Unbroken Down will be published by PowerHouse Books in the fall of 2015. Dave Jordano currently lives in Chicago, IL.