National Geographic : 2010 Nov
PHOTO JOURNAL |ANDREW MOORE • Detroit Undone With its shuttered factories, schools, homes, and theaters, Detroit is an obvious symbol of America's slow industrial decline. But where others see an end, I see a beginning. The potent forces of nature and entropy are starting to reclaim and transform the Motor City. These pictures are my attempt to elegize the past by documenting the emerging landscape. My father was an architect, so I grew up learning about buildings. I see each one as having a "life, " from construction to occupation, abandonment to reuse. They're also chroniclers of history, culture, and time. As a photographer, I look for places where the struc- tures tell a poignant narrative. In the past that's led me to Havana and Sarajevo. Now it's taken me to Detroit. At first glance it seems like a modern Pompeii. But look closer at the ruins. In some places man's work is yielding to green, as at this east Detroit house (left). Elsewhere urban prairies and farming collectives are taking root. No one knows what will become of Detroit. But decay isn't static. And this city's story isn't over. Andrew Moore's book Detroit Disassembled is published by Akron Art Museum/Damiani Editore. Once an ornate apartment building, Detroit's Lee Plaza is now adorned by graffiti.