August 9, 2010


Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4 | Available Light

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Full Disclosure: This photo was taken in Royal Oak, Michigan - a suburb about 4 miles north of Detroit proper.

Granted, the purpose of this project is to intimate the people who live in or otherwise have a relationship with the city of Detroit.

However, I don't intend to adhere to that criterion religiously.

If I happen to encounter an interesting person in my travels in the city's suburbs, I will very likely take their photo.

I make this exception for this reason: I think it is important to remember the suburbs of Detroit have their fate inextricably tied to the fate of Detroit proper. Conversely, I think its important for Detroit to see the suburbs as partners not adversaries.

Put simply, the metropolitan Detroit area will fail or prevail as a whole. So, although Detroit is the nucleus of the region, I believe it is wholly appropriate to look in on the satellite communities that surround Detroit and influence its trajectory. And now, to the photo:

When I want to clear my head and get some exercise, I ride my baby about 12 miles from downtown Detroit to the aforementioned city of Royal Oak. I saw the brother pictured above during one of my recent expeditions.

Like I was saying earlier, I plan to focus mostly on people I encounter in the city. However, if I see someone who stands out from the crowd, I see someone who stands out from the crowd.

Amid petite, blond housewives jogging merrily with their infant children propelled ahead of them in those lil three-wheel sports strollers, this brother sauntered; smiling widely at people he passed, standing about 6'3", built like an action hero, with a  "ax " slung over his shoulder.

He stood out.

Turns out that although he was in Royal Oak - where he likes to play with his informal band on the corner of S. Main St. and 4th Ave - he does in fact have a relationship with Detroit. When he's not playing the guitar, he does personal protection services for a bonafied Detroit legend: the incomparable Aretha Franklin.

Aside from keeping one of Detroit's gifts to the world safe, this brother also aspires to do a documentary project of his own. He wants to videotape the perspectives of Detroit's elderly residents.

I told him I see a lot of prospective candidates for his project on my bike ride to Royal Oak up John R avenue in Detroit.  He said he also sometimes rides that route and had noticed the same prospective interviewees.

You may notice that I keep referring to this gentleman as "this brother."  That's mostly because I'm terrible with names. I'm the kind of person that will ask a person's name and then forget it also as soon as the sound waves from their reply overrun my ears. I'm just a spaz like that.

I'm pretty sure he said his name was Jahiem.

What's that? Why don't I carry a notepad?  Good suggestion. I'll have to make a note of it.

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A. said...

Yes.. His name is Jahiem. I saw him a few months ago. He's old friends with my mom and chi's parents. In fact - Chi did a few Bata gigs with him recently. He's definitely COOL people.

The People of Detroit said...

Hey A,

Ok my memory served me well. He seemed like super cool people. Had a good time talking to him for sure

The People of Detroit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A. said...

yeah.. And I'm extra bogus because his name is really Jahee (probably not spelling that correctly -again because I'm bogus). And he is super cool.