Ruins of Detroit

The Etsy Blog recently featured the work of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, authors of The Ruins of Detroit. I was immediately captivated by the haunting beauty of their work. I’m always drawn to things that are worn, distressed, abandoned. The peeling paint, the broken glass, the memories of days gone by. Looking into these images, it’s almost as if the rooms have a story to tell. A story of better times. 

“In 1913, up-and-coming car manufacturer Henry Ford perfected the first large-scale assembly line. Within few years, Detroit was about to become the world capital of automobile and the cradle of modern mass-production. For the first time of history, affluence was within the reach of the mass of people. Monumental skyscapers and fancy neighborhoods put the city’s wealth on display. Detroit became the dazzling beacon of the American Dream. Thousands of migrants came to find a job. By the 50’s, its population rose to almost 2 million people. Detroit became the 4th largest city in the United States.”

“The automobile moved people faster and farther. Roads, freeways and parking lots forever reshaped the landscape. At the beginning of the 50’s, plants were relocated in Detroit’s periphery. The white middle-class began to leave the inner city and settled in new mass-produced suburban towns. Highways frayed the urban fabric. Deindustrialization and segregation increased. In 1967, social tensions exploded into one of the most violent urban riots in American history. The population exodus accelerated and whole neighbourhoods began to vanish. Outdated downtown buildings emptied. Within fifty years Detroit lost more than half of its population.”

“Its splendid decaying monuments are, no less than the Pyramids of Egypt, the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, remnants of the passing of a great Empire.” – Marchand & Meffre

All photos via MarchandMeffre

I’m in love with so many of these images. Hop on over to their site and tell me which one speaks to you.

Posted 1/24/11, Topic: Blog

  • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    January 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

    These photos do have a haunting beauty, but also such sadness. I always find it so sad when you see a thing or place someone once lovingly cared for, in ruins. It helps remind me that stuff is just that: stuff. It is fleeting, it comes and goes, it someday won't matter. The photo with the piano is especially breath-taking.

  • {BlueEyedYonder}
    January 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm |

    The piano pick gets to me as well. I just look at it and imagine all the happy tunes it must have played. People dancing, glasses clinking – very ghostly.

  • {Little Green Jar}
    January 24, 2011 at 7:34 pm |

    There is an article that I saw recently that was photos from Chernobyl…this reminds me of that! I will find and send you the link.

  • lesley graham
    January 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm |

    i've heard about this series. wowza! there is such a thing as beautiful decay. that's for sure. just wanted to thank you for your kind kind words. here's to more and more creative expression in 2011! out of the box:)

  • Amy
    January 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm |

    This reminds me of another website that a friend of mine posted on her facebook page It has similiar photos and history of many places…sad and interesting at the same time! Have a great evening! 🙂

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