Detroit; Beauty in Decay.
A photography feature by Adelita Alvarez.
I have been obsessed with exploring and photographing abandoned places for about two years now since my boyfriend and I started watching documentaries on the plight of Detroit. We immediately fell in love with the city’s beautiful architecture and almost unimaginable decay. This last July we finally made the trip there to explore and photograph the beauty and devastation. As we drove to our hotel from the airport, you couldn’t help but notice the amount of abandoned, decaying homes and structures, and how desolate a once bustling city has become. Large parts of this city are now virtually an urban ghost town.
The first location we visited was an abandoned church, it took my breath away. The architecture, lighting, the history and decay immediately blew my mind. This house of God is now abandoned and slowly crumbling and decaying. We were floored by the beauty and sense of calm remaining in this building. At first we were a little hesitant considering the reputation of Detroit as an extremely dangerous city and it was our fist time out, but we soon felt safe and comfortable.
The most powerful thing I saw and the location that had the most impact on me personally, was a library in a K-12 Lutheran school. Tons and tons of books in beautiful condition were left behind to rot, definitely no happy ending here. As a LAUSD elementary interventionist, this completely broke my heart. In South Los Angeles, schools are limited due to budget cuts and can’t even afford to stock their classrooms and libraries with books like these.
Many of the homes in Detroit are still structurally sound, often with beautiful architecture and wonderful features, yet they sit abandoned today because of the blight that surrounds them. After spending enough time in Detroit, the resulting cityscape of graffiti, urban prairie, and crumbling buildings eventually becomes a normal backdrop. While still stunningly beautiful city, I find myself saddened when I stop to wonder how we let such a great city fall so far.
You can find more of Adelita’s work on her Instagram @beat_junkie