Abandoned Photographs Found in the Streets of Detroit
In 2009 and 2010, Italian photographers Arianna Arcara and Luca Santese walked the streets of Detroit on a photographic mission. They set out to find lost, thrown out, and forgotten photographs of the city’s past. Their collection eventually grew to include ‘thousands of polaroids, letters, prints of photographic evidence, police documents, mugshots and family albums.’ The project has now been
published in book form and is simply titled, Found Photos In Detroit. It’s a very intimate look at the history of a struggling city.
Here’s an excerpt from Vince Leo‘s review of the book:
“Within the form of the book, Arcara and Santese have constructed a shelter for these homeless images and, by extension, renewed meaning and social contact for their subjects. In the process, they have also created a powerful document of contemporary Detroit that moves beyond the bailout and the romanticized urban ruins of good times past to address the human tragedy that are the results of inequality, racism, and political impotence. That said, there’s no walking away from the fact that these images and their subjects tell another story. As so often in the past, these African-Americans have been reconstructed into a narrative not of their own making, revealing their utter representational powerlessness, no matter the intentions of the current powers that be. That is the agonizing contradiction at the heart of Found Photos in Detroit: that the source of its power as a social critique is made possible only by appropriating the despair of the abandoned. To hold those contradictory positions in your mind is to grasp the cost of representation; to hold them in your heart is to know truth as an oppressive other.”