Photographer Dave Jordano will be at Book Beat (26010 Greenfield Rd. Oak Park, MI 48237) on Sunday, June 3rd at 3 p.m., presenting his new book A Detroit Nocturne. This event is free and open to the public.
In a continuation of my previous work in “Detroit: Unbroken Down” which documented the lives of struggling residents, “A Detroit Nocturne” relies more heavily on the absence of the people who inhabit Detroit, but this is not say that I’m not aware of their presence. These photographs represent a visual document that speaks to the quiet determination of its residents, both as independent shop operators and as home owners who have survived the long and difficult path of living in a post-industrial city stripped of economic prosperity and opportunity. In many rust-best cities like Detroit, people’s lives often hang in the balance as neighborhoods support and provide for each other through job creation, ad hoc, community involvement, moral and spiritual support, and a well-honed DIY mentality.
With all the media attention about Detroit’s rebirth and revival, it’s important to note that many neighborhoods throughout the city have been surviving for years, relying on local merchants and businesses that operate on a cash only basis who have stuck it out through decades of economic decline. Relying on a strong sense of self-preservation, individuals struggle to survive by maintaining a healthy sense of connection without the fear of giving up. All of these establishments, whether large or small are in many ways a marker of the ongoing story that is Detroit, a testament to the tenacity of the city’s residents who are trying desperately to hold on to what is left of the social and economic fabric of the city.
These photographs speak to that truth without casting an overly sentimental gaze. I’ve chosen to make these images at night not only to put more emphasis on their locale by presenting them in an unfamiliar light, but also to introduce a moment of quiet and calm reflection. Pieces of the past, present, and future are rendered here to carefully consider. They are after all the physical evidence of where we have carved out our collective ambitions and lived out our dreams. – Dave Jordano
“In “Detroit: Unbroken Down,” Jordano has taken an eloquent and sympathetic photographic survey of the survivors of Detroit’s misfortunes, stalwarts who have dug in — sometimes literally — to preserve their homes and neighborhoods.” –review of Jordono’s first book Detroit: Unbroken Down in the Chicago Tribune
“A Detroit Nocturne is a wonderful portrait of a city. Jordano takes care and patience to evoke a personality from buildings and structures that he cannot coax a reaction from. When I asked him about the comparison between ‘Nocturne’ and ‘Unbroken Down’ as being a portraiture project of two aspects of a city Jordano said, “To impart respect, dignity, and honesty to my subjects, whether they’re a person or a building, are hopefully qualities that will translate to a broader viewing audience.”–from a review in F Stop Magazine
Dave Jordano was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1948. He received a BFA in photography from the College for Creative Studies in 1974. In 1977 he established a successful commercial photography studio in Chicago, shooting major print campaigns for national advertising agencies. Jordano is the author of Detroit: Unbroken Down (powerHouse Books, 2015) and has exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is included in the permanent collection of several private, corporate, and museum institutions, most notably the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the Detroit Historical Museum; The Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, Evanston; the Harris Bank Collection; and the Federal Reserve Bank.
Visit Dave Jordano photography online at https://davejordano.com/