Once the vibrant Motor City, Detroit very quickly lost half of its population and gained a bad rap for being a failed city. It’s often depicted as a broken down city, full of abandoned homes, boarded up businesses, widespread poverty and rampant crime. But one photographer sees the beauty of Detroit—the beauty and spirit that lives in its residents. Documentary photographer Wayne Lawrence shares some stories of the people of Detroit:
Lawrence was asked to photograph Detroit as part of National Geographic’s Exposure series. Born in St. Kitts and now based in Brooklyn, New York, he always tries to capture the human element and focuses on communities that are often overlooked by the media.
For this assignment, he traveled to the Motor City to photograph the run down neighborhoods, meeting people who have real stories along the way.
Every day the residents are surrounded by decay and rebirth—from crumbling homes and empty lots to homes and buildings being rebuilt. But, what may first appear to be a sad and too far gone city is actually thriving with hope and spirit.
As Lawrence says, it’s all about the people. No matter what you say about the city—the politics, the economy—when you get down to it, it’s always about the people.
“It’s a hard knock city; Detroit is a place built on struggle. Anywhere you find places like this, there’s bound to be beauty and soul.”
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