Detroit is frequently viewed as a city where hope has been lost, government is totally dysfunctional, and the infrastructure is beyond repair. For far too many people around the world, the Motor City is perceived as a city whose greatness is in distant memory. Detroit Resurgent, while not ignoring the problems facing the city, explores Detroit in a new way that reveals a culturally rich, very alive, and undeniably present side of the city. Through photographic portraits, interviews, essays, and poetry, it demonstrates the vitality and humanity of Detroit’s people, providing a powerful counternarrative to the vision of Detroit as a Rust Belt wasteland. Giving voice to people with hopes for a brighter future and aspirations to create a new city out of the old required recording their own words and engaging a portrait photographer grounded in humanism whose approach is based upon the traditions of social documentary photography. Detroit Resurgent explores the city through the voices of those working in a multitude of ways to reshape it into a twenty-first-century urban space, through the auto industry, urban agriculture and food production, entrepreneurial action and small business, visual and performing arts, activism, and visionary leadership.
Foreword, by Lou Anna K. Simon
A Poem Saved My Life: An Homage to Detroit, by jessica Care moore
Detroit Resurgent, by John P. Beck
Journey to Detroit: A Global Photographic Odyssey, by Howard Bossen
Portraits of the Motor City, photographs by Gilles Perrin and interviews by Nicole Ewenczyk
Detroit Dreams: No Rust Belt Scene, by Larry Gabriel
Start with the photos. Sixty-two wonderful portraits of an eclectic range of Detroiters—artists, journalists, politicians, museum directors—all pictured in the city where they work, live, or play. Then talk about the stories. Everyone profiled tells a different slice of the city’s story, a time of great conflict between hope and desperation. If you’re looking for a representative cross-section of who’s here right now, and what they’re doing to make this city work, you won’t find a better example than Detroit Resurgent.
--Stephen Henderson, Editorial Page Editor, Detroit Free Press
Detroit was the most innovative city of the 20th century. Detroit Resurgent shows it may be the most innovative city of the 21st, as well. A cast of farmers, activists, industrialists, academics, artists, laborers, preachers, and politicians share how they’re filling Detroit’s empty spaces with new ideas for urban living.
--Edward McClelland, author of Nothin’ but Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland
Detroit Resurgent wisely combines many forms—photographs, interviews, scholarly essays, a personal essay, and a poem for good measure—to tell Detroit’s complex, ever-changing story. Everyone involved in this compelling, ambitious project seems to agree on one thing: it’s about the people. Open this book. Meet these people.
--Jim Ray Daniels, author of Birth Marks and Trigger Man: More Tales of the Motor City
From crumbling concrete comes more than the bankruptcy that tarnishes our perceptions of Detroit today. Detroit Resurgent is a collective portrait of individuals who are committed to their urban home—and are the reason why this city will reinvent itself and be a model for other American cities that are redefining themselves in the 21st century. The photographs, interviews, and essays are a heartfelt tribute to the city that was, but more significantly, they are an optimistic forward-looking appraisal of what can be.
--Charlee Brodsky, documentary photographer and Professor of Photography and Design at Carnegie Mellon University
Artfully and passionately bracketed by jessica Care moore’s inspired poetry and a poignant essay by Larry Gabriel, Detroit Resurgent stands in stark contrast to the current doom and gloom headlines about Detroit. The seamless weave of words and images, from a coterie of heralded and unheralded Detroiters, is not only a reflection of the city’s proud heritage but a testament to a promising future. Detroit Resurgent is another impressive indicator of the city’s undeniable resilience.
--Herb Boyd, author of Black Detroit—Its History, Culture, Politics, and Future
This is a genuine portrait of Detroit—its guts, its people. Captured skillfully by Perrin and Ewenczyk, Detroit Resurgent is a testament to the DIY, seek-and-solve sensibility that has always made Detroit move. This is the human report on the surge that is re-imagining the city—and ultimately all cities—for the 21st century.
--Michelle Perron, Director, Kresge Arts in Detroit, College for Creative Studies