Abandoned In Detroit
9 Jun 2007
I began organizing group photo shoots early in the development of my portfolio. The rationale is that by bringing together a wide range of talent we'll learn from each other and become advocates for each other's growth. When we meet new people we can tell them about this project "Abandoned In Detroit" that they can join and meet fashion talent from the area. Now people have a central point of focus for fashion oriented talent to congregate through.
I'd held a few group shoots in July and August 2005 around abandoned places. I liked the juxtaposition of beauty in the ruins. I discovered a desire for having a fashion element present. So I started inviting designers, makeup artists, hair stylists to meet with the models and photographers that were coming to the shoots.I christened the project "Abandoned In Detroit" and our first official shoot was September 22, 2005.
The name was chosen with a bit of thought . It is interesting how it resonates with people creating new interpretations. At the physical level we are shooting in abandoned spaces. Beneath this is the awareness of abandonment that exists around the lives of Detroiters, and the fears of abandonment that the human mind holds. In the Detroit area everyone has seen friends leave, business leave, music and arts leave. It happens at an alarming pace actually. Even though gone, they profess a love for where they come from, the "Dirty D", a spawning ground for artistic people. You can strip a person of many things, but their artistic expression has a way of showing through despite the odds placed against themselves.
Abandoned In Detroit has been somewhat of an underground project. It didn't start with acknowledgment from the known fashion community. This seedling project is a platform for fashion talent to become known - on their own, without huge financial backing.
So far we've held 14 shoots in the past year and a half. We have over 100 models, one dozen photographers, one dozen designers, and a dozen hair and makeup artists that participate when their schedule permits.
We hold the shoots in abandoned spaces around Detroit. Some of the locations have quite a bit of history, such as The Globe Trading Company - the first iron framed structure of Detroit, Michigan Central Station - the old train station in service from 1913 to 1988, and Fisher Body Plant 21 - producing auto bodies as far back as 1919. These locations have been vacant for 10 years or more.
Working in abandoned structures has concerns and our experienced crew guides new folk through the locations. We come to terms of respect for "the residents", people who live in these locations. We are seeking permission from landlords to use their space prior to renovation or demolition to showcase beauty rising from the ruins. Naturally there is a hope for these beautiful relics and we pray for renovation.
Detroit is a metropolitan area that continues to struggle with separatism between the city and its suburbs. There is a desire to see redevelopment, but will it come as demolition or renovation? Will the talent which rises from here continue to move away to find acknowledgment when it can't be found within the metropolitan area?
Depression is one thing, repression is another more active term. Abandoned In Detroit is seeking participants and sponsors who are actively involved in creating a vibrant and alive creative community.
The goal of the project is to showcase Detroit's fashion community to the world - through shoots, exhibitions, runway shows, and published stories. Eventually we would like to tour, being present in other communities where Detroit natives have migrated. Seeing recognition for the creative talent of a marvelous metropolitan area uniting.