Travis Dewitz | Midwest Editorial & Commercial Photographer » Photography Projects, Works of Art, and Environmental Portraits


DETROIT, Michigan

Detroit, the “D”. Once known for the auto industry, now more well known for the cities decay and abandonment. Detroit has been in decline since the 1950’s. The population today is less than half of its former glory. Many factors and problems led to the cities decline. Not everybody agrees to any single or string of events that has been almost fatal to this city which once was one of the biggest contributors that build America as we know it today. Detroit is hanging on strong and continues to claw from its grave. The D is probably the best it has been in decades and only time will tell if they can keep the healing moving forward. I have seen American towns and cities in much worse shape like Braddock that has suffered a 90% population decrease or the near vacant burn out areas of McDowell County, West Virginia. What about the many ghost towns of the American West? What makes Detroit different from the rest in my mind comes down to a few things.  Detroit is huge in comparison to the others I have mentioned. The number of vacant houses and abandoned skyscrapers is unheard of. The blocks and blocks stretching for miles of decay is incredible. But another side to this story decay that makes Detroit stand out is that you can see the hope, the pride, the movement forward the people are making. Detroit isn’t dead. Detroit has a future. This future is what separates them from a ghost town. Many smaller decaying cities and towns are usually dependent on only one business that they were built around be it steel, coal, silver, or gold. I believe Detroit was built around more than cars.

With only having  a few hours to explore the city, I tried to make the most of it. I took my camera to the streets and looked to photograph and document what I could circling out from the city’s downtown center. I photographed anything that caught my attention. I tried to not focus just on the decay and abandoned burnt out homes but this decay stands out greatly to an outsider as does the graffiti many of which are master pieces.  Burnt homes do not stay standing where I am from and graffiti is not much more than a small tag when you can find it.  The beauty I did capture came in the form of beautiful homes some of which were vacant, art projects that stretch across the city, and amazing breath taking graffiti on the buildings. I would love to photograph the heart and soul of Detroit, the people, but as an outsider this time around I didn’t. I would love to show the real Detroit, maybe one day I will be able to. Until that day, all I can show is what an outsider looking in may see.

Detroit Phantasim Graphitti Artwork by SintexDetroit Fire Station 23

Photos from the Detroit photography set can be purchased here.