Tag Archives: Detroit

Into the New Year with a Full Heart

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times in 2015 I stopped to think, “Holy shit, I can’t believe this is my job…”

I really love New Year’s… I think I love it more the older I get. Not because of the parties or the weird commercial holiday bullshit, but I love reflecting on the year–taking in all the good and bad experiences then pulling inspiration from all of it to carry into the next year. Oh, and I LOVE fireworks. Reflecting, I feel especially lucky. I kinda struggle with that word: lucky. I don’t mean the denotation of lucky, the definition that implies that everything is up to chance, but rather the connotation of feeling fortunate, fulfilled, loved, inspired, and immeasurably thankful. So in that way, yeah, I feel lucky.

Thank you to every last one of you who helped me grow this year, has given me opportunities and work that I was excited about, has helped me find ways to help others through my imagery, traveled with me, put up with me when I was frustrated, told me to take a nap when I was tired, welcomed me, gave me a bed or a couch to sleep on, gave me hugs, encouraged me, made me laugh, loved and inspired me… I am entering the new year with a full heart.

All the best to all of you in 2016. I can’t wait to photograph it.

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Detroit: The Heidelberg Project

Andrew and I went to The Heidelberg Project on an overcast weekday with only a few people filtering through the landscape. Our experience was was quiet, at our own pace, but I’ve heard that on busy days the whole block can be bustling with people. The Heidelberg Project in Detroit is a massive art environment created by Tyree Guyton with a mission “to inspire people to appreciate and use artistic expression to enrich their lives and to improve the social and economic health of the greater community.” It’s a tremendous installation with a long timeline of how art can truly combat poverty and blight and heal communities. The whole block, which seems to be constantly evolving, was a visual adventure… joyous sensory overload. I was profoundly pleased to be surrounded by so much color, so much texture.

A woman in a car pulled up to where we were roaming around one of the lots… Her son was in the passenger seat. We had a friendly exchange and she asked if we were from the area–“No, we’re both from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania!” She glanced back at her son and said, “See! People travel from all over the place to come here!” She turned to us again, “I used to live in this neighborhood a long time ago and I just wanted to bring my son here. I want him to understand the power of art.”

Everything is awesome.

http://www.heidelberg.org/

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Detroit: Cold Weather, Warm Hearts

“Detroit is a place where we’ve had it pretty tough. But there is a generosity here and a well of kindness that goes deep.” (Mitch Albom)

It’s true that most of my favorite adventures have been born on a whim. Respectively, my recent trip to Detroit was amazing… At the last minute, without itinerary or expectation, I decided to tag along with Andrew and his close friend, Naim. Naim, who grew up in Harrisburg, now lives in Detroit and was a wonderful host. While we were there, he introduced us to some really beautiful people— we witnessed incredible community organizing, met sweet neighbors and passionate activists, went to church and heard Naim sing in the choir (shameless plug: he’s a really great singer!), learned about the history of Detroit and it’s current narrative, ate delicious food, volunteered, made new friends, and saw some art! I came back feeling inspired… it even felt a little like I had prepared my heart for the new year.

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Thank you to Naim and his roomate, Rich, for having us at Hope House. I look forward to coming back in the spring when you’re planting to make more images… and, of course, take Rich up on his offer to teach me how to knit!

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