‘The Ruins of Detroit’ is the title of a body of work by two amazingly talented self-taught French photographers: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. Both photographers have a fascination with ruins and in 2005, after seeing photos of Detroit, they decided that they needed to travel there and try and capture some of the devastation that had swept through the city. For five years they collaborated on the project; originally running it as a series for TIme magazine, it has now become a series of exhibitions and an incredible looking book.
Of all the cities in the US, Detroit seems to have been hit hardest by the economic downturn. Marchand & Meffre’s show libraries empty, schools destroyed, and concert halls, theatres and hotels literally falling apart. For a city that once stood as the cradle of modern mass-production it’s a haunting reminder of the ephemerality of all things. For Marchand & Meffre, this reminder is core to the work “Detroit presents all archetypal buildings of an American city in a state of mummification” they say on their site. “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”.