Detroit’s Beautiful Ruins

Susan Sontag explains that photographs are experience captured, and the photographs of desolate Detroit bring a person into these abandoned marvels with feelings of loneliness and curiosity. The intro to the study is a picture of Detroit showing a peaceful city, which seems completely normal. Even the author starts with this idea and explains how Detroit is beautiful and alive, then he closes the paragraph by stripping away this illusion. The real Detroit is filled with mysterious places, abandoned and representative of a city battling with economic and social destruction. Images 3, 6, and 8 communicate the loneliness the best with lack of people, movement, an empty context, and an open sky which gives the photo a sense of timelessness and the viewer a sense of incompleteness, the eye is left to wander. I feel like all the photos communicate these feelings though, and these photos can become an opinion in a way. The opinion that Detroit was once a thriving economic stronghold in America before descending into ruin. The opinion communicated could be this idea that what happened to Detroit could still happen to any city. Photo 10 is the final photo in this study, and at first glance seems like the open sky photos described earlier. But this photo is angled down and shows streets with movements, and cars. The idea this photograph is trying to communicate is then described in the paragraph. The building shown was abandoned, but then reopened later after 30 years. The author doesn’t want the audience to feel hopeless, so he brings closure by saying that even in the current state Detroit is facing, small old abandoned places are being reopened in different places, and there is hope for social and economic recovery. The final sentence of this paragraph explains that Detroit is down, but not out.
Adam Boole


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