"Nichole's Son" from the Detroit Food Desert project.






The #DetroitFoodDesert project was featured recently on First Block - a primetime news program from WDIV Local 4. Here's the TPOD's segment:








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April 29, 2010

Revelers

Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4 | Available Light
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Centaur Bar is without a doubt my favorite place to be in my nocturnal spare time. As the name suggests, it has a mythological motif, with floor-to-ceiling, cubist murals of centaurs and other scenes inspired by ancient Greece.

The interior is enveloped in dark mahogany wood accented with deep red fixtures. There is a chandelier that pierces the top level to make an impression on the ground floor.

Even amid these cosmopolitan trappings, the waiters and waitresses are mad down-to-earth, cool people.

It really is a nice place to hang.

April 25, 2010

Book Merchant



 
Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4 | Available Light
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Miss Jones is the proprietor of the Source Booksellers in Detroit's Cass Corri.., er, Midtown neighborhood.*

I used to live up the street from Miss Jones' establishment. I would stop in from time to time. Miss Jones would ask how I was doing and I would reply enthusiastically  that I was "ahh, ya know. Still not dead..."

April 18, 2010

Educator | Mentor


Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4 | Available Light
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People like Myco are God's way of saying "I'm sorry" for people like me.

I remember reading the autobiography of Malcolm X when I was a kid and fantasizing about being the next prophet of progress - leading my people up out of the ghetto.

I got full of righteous indignation. Zeal. Vigor.

Then I played Nintendo.

Business Cyclist

Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4 | Available Light
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On Sunday, I paid a visit to my favorite bike shop, the Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop where I had the pleasure to meet Larry;  a cyclist, businessman, and Detroiter.

Never one to waste a chance at making a stranger feel alienated and repulsed by me, I almost immediately engaged Larry in a discussion about religion, race, and politics.

I have to say. I like Larry. His affect is as direct as his stance in this portrait. Although  we did not see eye-to-eye on a couple of topics, I for the most part felt a kindred spirit in Larry.

Best of all, even after somewhat controversial conversation, he still permitted me to make his portrait.

Additional Information About the Location:

The first photo in the People of Detroit series, "Outlier," was photographed in downtown Detroit's Campus Martius. Campus Martius opened in 2004 just prior to Detroit's hosting of Superbowl XL in 2005.

Since opening, it has served as the nexus of downtown Detroit's revival. In fact, it was recently recognized by Urban Land Institute as the first ever recipient of the Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award.  The award recognizes public spaces that catalyze positive change in the surrounding community.

That being said, I felt there is some poetic symmetry in the second photo taking place on the Riverwalk - a development that I consider the twin sister to Campus Martius.

Like Campus Martius, the Riverwalk has become a public space that draws metro Detroiters of all stripes to its common pavement. It's truly one of the things I enjoy most about Detroit.

If you're in the city, be sure to stop by The Wheelhouse, rent (or buy) a bike and enjoy the waterfront.

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

April 15, 2010

Outlier

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 ]