Photographer Kevin Bauman's "100 Abandoned Houses" project showed the empty domiciles of Detroit, but French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have gone further: Their photo book The Ruins of Detroit is far more chilling because it displays the disintegration of livelihood at every level. It's one thing to see empty houses, but Marchand and Meffre's shots show abandoned banks, train stations, dentist's offices, police stations, ballrooms, hotels, schools, churches and more.
Over the past generation Detroit has suffered economically worse than any other of the major American cities and its rampant urban decay is now glaringly apparent during this current recession. Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre documented this disintegration, showcasing structures that were formerly a source of civic pride, and which now stand as monuments to the city's fall from grace.
"Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension. The state of ruin is temporary by nature, the volatile result of the end of an era and the fall of empires. This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time: being dismayed, or admiring, wondering about the permanence of things. Photography appeared to us as a modest way to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state."
Alas, while people left Detroit because work was in short supply, Marchand and Meffre's book is scarce because people can't get enough of it. Until publisher Steidl kicks off its fourth print run, The Ruins of Detroit is currently sold out.