A Tree Grows in Detroit

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If you thought there was an odd brilliance in Steven Soderberg setting Out of Sight‘s stirring first love scene against snow settling over the ruins of Detroit, and that Robert Polidori’s large-format photos of Havana’s faded glory were as beautiful as landscapes — that is to say, if you are a 21st century Romantic — then you will find these photos compelling:

Picture 5

This is the Detroit Public Schools Book Depository. Note the serendipitous and symbolic sapling emerging form the molding pages. They have made the rounds online already, but there are more of these pictures, taken by this photographer, are really worth seeing. As are these ghostly architectural studies of Mies van der Rohe’s residential buildings in Lafayette Park. Most incredible, though, is this composite picture of an entire empty block in Detroit. Click on it and scroll left and right for detail of what the world will look like when the people are gone.


Joshuah Bearman has written about CIA missions, jewel thieves, deranged private investigators, aspiring Fabios, bitter rivalry among dueling Santa Clauses, and the metaphysical implications of being the world's greatest Pac Man player. His article for Wired became the movie Argo. More from this author →