Sunday, December 16, 2012

Inspiration: Detriot Urbex

All photos are from
Sometimes you run across something, and it's just screaming for someone to write about it. So that's what this series will be about, things that are just begging for a writer to get ahold of them and start playing.

I saw a link to Detroiturbex on Facebook, and next thing I knew three hours had gone by as I was absorbed into these photos.

Detroiturbex is a site that is documenting the abandonment of Detroit. It's a collection of images of what is left behind when people leave, and what those who stay do with what was left. 

On the surface level there's the eerie beauty of these images. Some of these buildings are gems of architectural craftsmanship, homes, clubs, businesses created not just for utilitarian purpose, but to enrich the lives of those who lived in and around them with their beauty.

There's the strange feeling emptiness. What happened to the people who belonged in these places? Why are they gone? And not just in the general sense of population pressure and a slumped economy, but in the more specific sense of why this particular property?

And while it's true that the existence of literal ghosts is certainly up for debate, I'm thinking it's safe to say that haunted is an awfully good way to describe these shots. If, when it comes down to it, a ghost is mostly a matter of how humans remember what came before, and deal with our fear of the finite existence of man, then these images are certainly ghostly.

Looking through these images, I also find myself wondering about what was left behind. Everything from stained glass windows and pews, to pianos, patient records, to entire libraries full of books, were left in some of these buildings. Were those signs of owners hopeful of return? Of people running so fast they took almost nothing? Apathy?

In the end, I don't know the answers to these questions, and more importantly, the answers don't much matter. It's the questions that inspire a writer, and the images of Detroiturbex offer tons of interesting questions. So, for anyone who's feeling the need for a little inspiration, I highly suggest heading over to Detroiturbex and taking in the pictures.

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