The Ruins of Detroit photo essay was my favorite of the assigned “readings” for today. Everyone knows that Detroit was hugely and negatively affected by the collapse of their primary industry, but seeing that fact visually rather than reading or hearing about it produces a different kind of sentiment. There were a few highlights of this photo essay that made me favor it over the other two especially. The first of these is the introductory approach. The author(s) used the text in the beginning to outline the story, which I prefer over captions. The second and most profound part of this essay is the juxtaposition of images near the end of the essay. The picture captioned “Jane Cooper Elementary school 2008”, which is followed by the exact same picture one year later made me pause much longer on the image than I had for the rest of the photos. Also, I think this essay was a lot more visually appealing and used a lot of the photography techniques that were explained in the other assigned readings we’ve had thus far.
Jane Cooper Elementary 2008
Jane Cooper Elementary 2009
I can best describe the rhetoric of this photo essay as depressing, hopeless, and nostalgic. I am convinced that Detroit is a very depressing place from the images, and the fact that not a single image hinted toward progression or happiness, gives a very hopeless vibe. I think nostalgia is best evoked in the images of the elementary school I mentioned earlier. Just one year and the place goes from depressing to ultra depressing (I also quite like the graffiti as an added touch of hopelessness in the more recent image).
I think the affect the essay has is very similar to its rhetoric. The essay made me depressed, without a doubt. It made me feel, for lack of a better term, bad. I feel bad for Detroit’s former and current residents, really bad for the people who aspire to clean up Detroit, and worse for the people who may have lost their identity as these images make it apparent that the city’s identity was lost entirely.
This is was really depressing.