One year. One city. Endless opportunities. Keith Marlowe's Portrait of Detroit

A terrific gallery of Detroit has just been posted on, one of our Assignment Detroit partners. Let us know what you think.

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  • 1

    Tragic yet wonderful photos. It truly is sad to see such decay in a once great city.

  • 2

    If it isn't supposed to be 'ruin porn' shouldn't it show more than ruins?

  • 3

    Note the caption under slide three:

    "Marlowe's task, of course, was not simply to photograph desolation. Well-aware of the risks facing anyone hoping to chronicle the fall of a great metropolis, he worked to avoid being just another purveyor of what Detroiters have come to call "ruins porn."

    If that was his goal, he completely and utterly failed.

    But LIFE sure knows how to sell magazines.

  • 4

    ha, you got me!

    well, then, they're either selling ad space, books, or else they have no excuse (not even a bad one) for irresponsible journalism.

  • 5

    The real Detroit from one of my favorite local photogs, Mr. Bobby Alcott ~

    There's a decent sized community of wonderful local Detroit photographers on Flickr who provide a much better perspective of the area and who have great eyes for composition and detail. And they know people matter. How lame is it that LIFE's portrait doesn't include people?

  • 6

    Really disappointing. Why not document the fact that there's actually STILL LIFE in Detroit?

  • 7

    My 1st reaction was anger which I have expressed many times over the media's coverage of Detroit. Where are the photos of our River Walk, The Henry Ford, Fox Theater? Those are never shown which, to me, constitute lies of omission. But the pictures that are shown do not lie.

    Keith Marlowe's pictures, especially those of the Packard factory, struck a nerve. We did this. We allowed this to happen. We looked the other way while our city was rotting.

    I recently visited the Penobscott Bldg where I use to work in the early 60's. It was then, busy and exciting. It is now virtually vacant and sad. How soon before this becomes the fate of the Fisher Bldg, the Gaurdian Bldg and Ren Cen?

  • 8

    although i can somewhat agree with jeff9809 in the fact that "we did this, we let this happen," i do not fully support that. i am too a bit angered about seeing these photographs, although i can honestly say they are aesthetically beautiful. but, i am truly disheartened by this post.

    mostly, i glance over the emails i get each day from the detroit blog, but today i delved into two of the posts, this one being the second. and i am truly irritated. stop this perpetuation of detroit as the fallen city. we all know it. we can all imagine how it it and what has happened. if we truly want to turn the city around, we must invest in different images to show the growth and creativity and energy that we all know that that is also there.granted, maybe its a little harder to find that abandoned buildings.

    i am writing my graduate thesis about artistic and activist revitalization projects in detroit, specifically in neighborhoods, and am concentrating on The Heidelberg Project and the Powerhouse Project. But there are so many other things happening! and this is what I hope TIME photographs next. invest in the future and not the past, because Detroit is haunted by the past and until they leave it behind, they will never truly move forward and will be perpetually stuck in this cycle that TIME is just contributing to with these images.

  • 9

    More fantastic photos of Detroit can be seen at

  • 10

    Sorry miami888, but George Waldman's photos, with a few exceptions, are depressing. That's not the image Detroit needs.

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