January 2011: I am preparing for my first real visit to Detroit, the city of my birth. I am a Californian, where I have been since age one when my parents packed me into a car to seek fame and fortune in LA. It is strange to be defined by something unknown but when asked if I am a "native" Californian, I answer, "No, I was born in Detroit." It seems time to investigate what that means. So I have come "home" on my birthday to photograph Detroit.

This blog is part of an accompanying journal about the project.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Deconstructing Detroit

A new video with the premise that for the same cost as demolition, the abandoned houses of Detroit can be deconstructed and saved, earning approximately $40,000 for resale of the salvaged materials and the major benefit of putting people to work.

With experience photographing the unique repurposing of airplane parts into residence (the 747 WING HOUSE, comprised of parts of a deconstructed Boeing 747), how can I not be fascinated by this! Cannot wait to investigate this further.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting Ready for Detroit/Labor Day

Gardella Furniture Corner, at Chene & Gratiot ©Copyright 2011 Sara Jane Boyers

Finding out what's going on and, where to go and... a lot more! Starting a list here (to be added to):

Eat Detroit - chatting about markets (waiting for a Whole Foods but... in the meantime)
Faded Detroit - quick but informative posts about the D
Forgotten Detroit - "musings on ruins and society"... love the August 12th musing on European ruin parks (Kloster Eldena)
The Night Train - a blog about Metro Detroit history

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Projects and Projects

FIRST: starting to get ready to return to Detroit, Labor Day Weekend, my "summer" visit. While it is true that Labor Day is often considered the start of Fall, Detroit friends assure me that the warmth is still there, the flowers should still be up and best yet, there will be people in all of the streets, and not just for the Jazz Festival. This is what I seek: a city that IS vibrant, even while it rebuilds.

And "rebuilds" seems to be the operative word today as papers fill not with stories of decay but with stories of enterprise and community effort. I count myself lucky to be experiencing the city at such a time.

Just this past week: DETROIT COULD BE THE NEXT BIG STARTUP CITY/Business Insider
"Many have written the Motor City off for dead. But three key figures from, of all things, the world of basketball give me hope that the city will reemerge as a powerhouse for innovation and new high-growth startups.

Would be interested in responses from those actually in Detroit to this.

SECOND: Even as I gather these articles, go through, finally, my photographs from May and create the second issue of DETROIT: DEFINITION: THE MAGAZINE, I am immersed in my current exhibition in Los Angeles, FINDING CHINATOWN, and absolutely delighted with the critical recognition this decade-long project is getting! From yesterday's Los Angeles Times, an almost half-page art review.

Friday, August 5, 2011

From and soon Back to Detroit, finally!

While still busy with my FINDING CHINATOWN exhibition - two walk-thru's tomorrow - I am back to printing Detroit from Visit TWO in May, creating Issue Two of DETROIT: DEFINITION and planning Visit THREE, now scheduled over Labor Day weekend for a few days (Summer), including Detroit's Annual Jazz Festival, DETROIT JAZZ FEST.

Among the prints are some from those moments when Detroit comes together. Below: from a Saturday at Eastern Market and the Flower Fair in May.

Another major part of Detroit; The music. Music is in my blood and my past from years in the music industry. In Detroit, it also brings everyone together and when I see this, it reaffirms that this IS a city that can join and go forward, contradictory to so much heard outside.

So, thanks to Detroit Nation that often keeps me up to date, here is a terrific musical interlude from Larry Callahan & the Selected Of God Choir, Lose Yourself, expanding the work the choir did in the SuperBowl Chrysler commercial, Eminem's "Imported from Detroit". I've already bought this, sales to benefit three Detroit Charities, – Abayomi Community Development Corporation, the Yunion mentoring service (will find contact here soon), and Robert S. Shumake Scholarship Relays, "a premier class A track and field competition for high school students across the nation. Its unique model is unprecedented in that it has a dual focus. The Shumake Scholarship Relay competition highlights both athletic ability and academic achievement. Prizes are awarded to the athlete on each team with the highest grade point average, teams with the highest score at the end of the meet and athletes who place 1st through 8th."