Friday, December 10, 2010

Detroit's "Beautifully Broken" Feral Houses



A while back in the summer of 2009 a CD post featured the "feral houses of Detroit," described by the photographer as follows:

"I've seen "feral" used to describe dogs, cats, even goats. But I have wondered if it couldn't also be used to describe certain houses in Detroit. Abandoned houses are really no big deal here. Some estimate that there are as many as 10,000 abandoned structures at any given time, and that seems conservative. But for a few beautiful months during the summer, some of these houses become "feral" in every sense: they disappear behind ivy or the untended shrubs and trees planted generations ago to decorate their yards."

At a more recent post that featured the photos above from the summer of 2010, the photographer (who is self-described as one of "two yuppies raising their kids in the most dangerous city in America") added this:

"I like the idea of the feral as something "beautifully broken." A lot of people responded to the photos posted last summer by saying there was no beauty in these houses, only sadness. But with nature taking over these structures, they share a certain picturesque quality with the ancient ruins that have been appreciated throughout modern history."

Some of these photos are for sale here and here, so I guess this post could have been titled "Markets in Everything: Feral Detroit House Photos." 

16 Comments:

At 12/10/2010 11:26 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I find the photos interesting. As an amateur photographer these are the things you look for to shoot. From a photo standpoint the subjects are great, but the images are blown out. I know, everyone's a critic. Bottom line is that this guy is making some pretty good money selling them so it obviously doesn't matter to the buyers. In the end the public decides what it will buy and won't. I

 
At 12/10/2010 11:53 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Apparently not only houses are feral in Detroit...

From the Consumerist: Burger King Customer Dies After Being Punched In Face By Employee

By Chris Morran on December 10, 2010 11:00 AM

 
At 12/10/2010 12:00 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

From the Artist Statement:

"As the city of Detroit disappears, nature is flourishing. I am interested in the duplicity of plant life in Detroit as both blindly innocent and somehow deeply sinister."

Interesting how the artist statement is a marketing tool, with the words "innocent" and "sinister", to describe the same subject.

 
At 12/10/2010 12:33 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

A few years ago I took a train from DC to Charleston SC.

All along the way there were abandoned farms, all completely submerged inn Kudzu. Kudzu barns, kudzu silos, kudzu fields with kuzu fences around them, kudzu windmills..........


I liked the pictures that were taken inside a former Detroit factory. Grasslike mold a foot deep growing on the carpet in a former office.

 
At 12/10/2010 12:52 PM, Blogger juandos said...

What's beautiful about lifetime investments gone bad?

Is it more of that 'creative destruction' working its magic again?

 
At 12/10/2010 1:06 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Hydra comments about kudzu along the rail line between D.C. and Charleston, SC...

I did not realize that on my same rail route in July that a lot of the folks on the train could have used some kudzo. Many of the patrons at the club car could have used kudzo as a treatment for drinking. This could be a rich cash crop!

 
At 12/10/2010 5:26 PM, Blogger geoih said...

It's a kind of a modern day Angkor Wat or Tikal.

 
At 12/10/2010 6:53 PM, Blogger remo0622 said...

It's good for the environment!

 
At 12/10/2010 10:41 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If kudzu is going to be a cash crop for treatment of drinking, we will have to drink a lot more.

Agkor Wat is a good description of what was happening.

The bar car was an absolute riot on my trip down. Some real characters. The ski trip train to Vermont is a party trip, too. I find trains to be more convivial than planes.

I guess you can keep a stick up for a couple of hours, but after five or six your own company is less interesting.

 
At 12/10/2010 11:10 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"Promotes the accumulation of acetaldehyde, which has aversive effects...."


I should say so. Ever smell that stuff?

 
At 12/10/2010 11:10 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/11/2010 12:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Many of the patrons at the club car could have used kudzo as a treatment for drinking."

Buddy, are you assuming they wanted to be treated?

 
At 12/11/2010 6:30 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Ms Free Trade is a pretty lass, who distributes her favors and scorn liberally. Detroit got scorned.

Hard to remember, Detroit was once one of the globe's mightiest cities, where the best architects, engineers, artists, restauranteurs and others gravitated. Detroit has some amazing architecture.

Taxes paid by Detroit helped develop rural America. The city armed America in WWII.

Thanks, Detroit, and don't let the lid on the toilet hit your head on your way out.

 
At 12/12/2010 10:12 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Yet another pseudo bennyism: "Taxes paid by Detroit helped develop rural America. The city armed America in WWII"...

Good one!

Gotta love that kudzu!

What makes kudzu different from other plants -- such as grasses, weeds and trees -- is that it produces the chemicals isoprene and nitric oxide. Those chemicals combine with nitrogen in the air to form ozone, a pollutant that causes significant health problems for people...

I have no idea if the above is accurate or not but considering that the source quoted in the article is the EPA I can only wonder...

Kudzu, the vine that ate the South

 
At 12/12/2010 10:17 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Looking for that special Christmas gift, the one that'll have folks talking long after Christmas has come and gone?

Here you go: 15 Detroit Houses You Can Buy For Less Than $500

 
At 12/13/2010 9:46 AM, Blogger juandos said...

From Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Detroit Mayor Plans to Halt Garbage Pickup, Police Patrols in 20% of City; Expect Bankruptcy, Massive Municipal Bond Turmoil in 2011

 

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