The pervading sense one comes away from this book is not one of melancholy.
Although the feelings provoked are tinged with sadness, one comes away with a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity, having been exposed to numerous new revelations about a city whose condition can feel familiarly both in generally (the decline of the American city, industry, and perhaps spirit) and specifically (Detroit as a sample case), as well a sense of astonishment that anything ever existed, even briefly, and of intense hopefulness that it might happen again.
A truly amazing look at Detroit--as someone who is in Detroit a lot, I was totally blown away to see some of the insides of the buildings I pass all the time.
The photos are hauntingly beautiful and I find myself returning to the pictures over and over again and finding new details in them.
Note that the book is selective; of course Detroit is not dead, but shrinking.
The pictures are evocative of destruction and ruin as of a silent, small-scale war.The prose in the book though in the form of introductory paragraphs and captions is very interesting, and serves to provide the human "glue" behind the story these talented photographers are telling.It is a sad book - to see places that were so much full of life, lives and hopes for at least a time, and to see Not really a book you "read" as it is a collection of masterful photographs of one of America's former "wonder cities" that is now without livelihood or direction, but an excess of ruins.I downgraded it to 4 stars and not 5 because the text is small and light gray, as befits an "arty" book.I struggled mightily to view the text and finally gave up.This is what happens when a city's population collapsed from over 2 million to 900 thousand.I have been on a personal quest to get to know the city of Detroit a little better through reading.In a series of weekly photographic bulletins for Time magazine called "Detroit's Beautiful, Horrible Decline," photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have been revealing to an astonished America the scale of decay in Detroit."The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires," write Marchand and Meffre."Photography appeared to us as a modest way to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state." As Detroit's white middle class continues to abandon the city center for its dispersed suburbs, and its downtown high-rises empty out, these astounding images, which convey both the imperious grandeur of the city's architecture and its genuinely shocking decline, preserve a moment that warns us all of the transience of great epochs.Not really a book you "read" as it is a collection of masterful photographs of one of America's former "wonder cities" that is now without livelihood or direction, but an excess of ruins.