24 August 2009

Ruins of Detroit

I nearly lost my breath when I discovered Yves Marchard and Romain Meffre's Ruins of Detroit. Beyond the expected empty factories: banks, schools, churches, theatres, libraries, apartments and the metro station- deserted, crumbling. I've been to Detroit, or rather through Detroit- and I couldn't possibly have understood the magnitude of this post-apocalyptic scenery.

Michigan Central Station

Donovan Building

Bank Vault

Ballroom, Ft. Wayne Hotel

St. Margaret Mary School


Packard Motors Plant

Lee Plaza Hotel

Ballroom, Lee Plaza Hotel

As explained by the photographers:

The ruins of Detroit

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the city of Detroit
developed rapidly thanks to the automobile industry.

Until the 50's, its population rose to almost 2 million people.
Detroit was the 4th most important city in the United States.

It was the dazzling symbol of the American Dream City with
its monumental skyscrapers and fancy neighborhoods.

Increasing of segregation and deindustrialization caused violent riots in 1967.
The white middle-class exodus from the city accelerated and the suburbs grew.
Firms and factories began to close or move to lower-wage states.
Slowly, but inexorably downtown high-rise buildings emptied.

Since the 50's, "Motor City" lost more than half of its population.

Nowadays, its splendid decaying monuments are, no less than the Pyramids of Egypt,
the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, remnants of the passing of a great civilization.

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