April 15, 2010


Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4 | Available Light
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The People of Detroit began after a personal creative lull.  I took some time off of photography to regroup, get my bearings, absorb information about photography theory, technique, and technology; try to grow as a photographer and as a person.

This is the first photo from the photo documentary that grew out of my artistic rumination.

So, on the first 80 degree day of the year (looks like the city of Detroit is coming out of hibernation along with me), I decided to set about downtown on my lunch break to find my first subject.

I wasn't having much luck until I heard someone call my name out. Come to find out a high school classmate was drawn to a Campus Martius park the same as I was this afternoon.

Candiss was sitting in the downtown park reading with her doggy.

Candiss and I are graduates of Highland Park High school. Highland Park High is more or less the urban high school of popular imagination:

 A lot of kids from broken homes. A lot of kids for whom education was not a priority. A lot of seething angry and disappointment that overflows into confrontations. Luckily, guns rarely factored into those confrontations ("only" one dude got shot on school grounds during my time there. Rumor has it, it was over a marijuana debt. Luckily he survived. I say luckily because dude was cool and I could think of at least 7 other guys who would have been more deserving candidates for a fatal shooting).

More commonly the confrontations manifested as fights where one guy would get jumped on by 5 or more other guys who clearly had no plans on chancing a loss.

I say all this to put Candiss - and myself - into context.  I've had a couple people who are familiar with HP, tell me, "You ain't go to no got damn HP."  In the spirit of playing it forward, I always say the same thing about Candiss.

She's not your typical Parker Polar Bear. When I sat down next to her, I joked that she was reading Zane or Confessions of a Dick Sucking Video ho. What was she actually reading?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

What could be more fitting?

[View the weekdaily blog and meet more of: The People of Detroit ]

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