Has Detroit brought its own destruction?
Witold Rybczynski has composed a wonderful photo essay in defense of the rich history of Detroit, and how this history is being not only neglected but misused by its own inhabitants. In it, he portrays a list of historical buildings, once miraculous sights designed by top-notch architects, and how they are viewed/used now. In an architect’s opinion, it’s maddening that people could turn an historic theatre into a parking garage as has been done to the old theatre of Detroit. A zealous example of the entirety of the photo essay.
Looking at the relationships between Rybczynski’s photos and captioning (in reference to McCloud’s book “Understanding Comics and the metaphorical language of Susan Sontag), I can see an inter-dependent relationship between word and image. I believe that Rybczynski’s highly realistic photos can speak thousands of words about the city of Detroit, but the fact remains that his wording is also equally important. You can’t have only the pictures and receive the factual, historical data. Likewise, you can’t fully appreciate the ruins of Detroit without a mental image to bolster that thought to your brain. The images capture precisely what is going on in this current economically driven world, and how that world has driven Detroit from an economic machine to an old rusting car in the woods somewhere. With an aspect-to-aspect relationship between frames, the author keeps the attention at the holistic nature of the essay while providing a vast amount of information about this category. The pictures have claimed their spot among other developing nation photos in proving to the rest of us just how wonderful our own sheltered cities are. It’s quite right to say that Rybczynski’s photo essay is a bold example of the aggressive and provocative nature of picture taking, having all-but taken pictures of dead homeless in abandoned warehouses. The political stance upon this photo essay is hard to follow. Is Rybczynski uplifting or lowering his viewers’ opinion of the city of Detroit? As he puts it, Detroit isn’t “Down and Out.” But how so? The essay does little to suggest any change implemented.