Dave Jordano spent much of his college years during the seventies in one particular city. Detroit became his home for some years during that time and it found its way into the bones of Jordano. So, when returning in 2010 to find the city on its knees financially, Jordano felt the need to create an ode to his former home through some incredible images of Detroit after dark.
Arriving again in 2010—just three years before the city filed for bankruptcy—Jordano found a city still stuck in the past. The population had dwindled to half its former peak and there hadn’t been much development anywhere in the city limits. He told Featureshoot: “It felt like I had merely picked up where I had left off in 1977, the city hadn’t grown in the past 50 years, locking it into some kind of strange time capsule.”
Jordano felt compelled to start not only photographing the city once more but to gather stories of warmth and goodness from the city’s people. It was in reaction to the constant view of Detroit which always showed the end of a bad deal, the bottom of the barrel, the poster child for austerity. Jordano saw more than that. In a later interview in 2012 he said: “Detroit is not just the city of apocalyptic death and decay that everyone has portrayed in the media, but a microcosm of several communities built on perseverance.”
This series, though not focusing directly on people, does offer a great view of the people who built the city and continue to work at it. It may not be the smiling or morose face of one of the locals, but it is their corner shop, their restaurant or their street which still stands so full of character in Jordano’s work. Whether showing in the day or at night, in joy or in sadness, it’s becoming increasingly important to show these buildings as they are. A part of us.
Most of these shots are taken after midnight and despite the danger of staying out in a town like Detroit on your own, we can all agree with Jordano when he says “The results certainly outweigh the risks.”