How Detroit Decays: A Micro View, In Photos

A new website, GooBing Detroit, has assembled an interesting gallery of photos of Detroit scenes that illustrate, in miniature, the velocity of decline across the city by comparing street view photos from Google, taken in 2009, and Bing, taken in 2012.

Is it ruin porn?

Or is it a freeze-frame illustration that helps bring into focus what is happening to the city beyond Midtown and downtown?

A long history supports the view that picturing ruins is a valid artistic pursuit.

As Joann Greco noted in an essay on ruin porn last year in Atlantic Cities, "Renaissance painters romanticized Greek ruins. Piranesi's etchings memorialized Roman antiquity as it was being torn up. Photographer Eugene Atget sought out whatever bits of a rapidly-disappearing Paris he could find in a post-Haussmann era."

She added: Critics accuse photographers who pursue the old and decaying parts of cities "of objectifying empty buildings as pretty stage sets filled with juxtapositions, fading colors and dramatic light. Those who are driven by the frisson of scampering around abandoned places, on the other hand, are often lambasted as criminal trespassers."

GooBing also shares examples of a few houses that have seen improvements since 2009.


Read more:  GooBing Detroit

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