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Detroit Is No Dry Bones

The Eternal City of the Industrial Age

Camilo José Vergara (author)

ISBN: 9780472130115

Publication Date: Nov 2016

Format: Hardback

Over the past 25 years, ethnographer and photographer Camilo José Vergara has travelled annually to Detroit to document not only the city's decline but also how its residents have survived. But over the last decade Detroit has seen the beginnings of a positive transformation, and the photography in Detroit Is No Dry Bones provides unique documentation of the revival and its urbanistic possibilities.
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Over the past 25 years, award-winning ethnographer and photographerCamilo José Vergara has traveled annually to Detroit to document notonly the city's precipitous decline but also how its residents havesurvived. From the 1970s through the 1990s, changes in Detroit werealmost all for the worse, as the fabric of the city was erased throughneglect and abandonment. But over the last decade Detroit has seenthe beginnings of a positive transformation, and the photography inDetroit Is No Dry Bones provides unique documentation of the revivaland its urbanistic possibilities. Beyond the fate of the city's buildingsthemselves, Vergara's camera has consistently sought to capture thedistinct culture of this largely African American city. The photographsin this book, for example, are organized in part around the way peoplehave re-used and re-purposed structures from the past. Vergara is uniquein his documentation of local churches that have re-occupied old bankbuildings and other impressive structures from the past and turnedthem into something unexpectedly powerful architecturally as well asspiritually.

Reviews

"Vergara is especially alert to changes in the urban landscape . . .perhaps more people will take a second, closer look at the wealth ofnative folk art we have all over town. And Vergara deserves thanks forrecording them and offering a serious critical appraisal." – Detroit Metro Times
Illustrations 310 colour photographs
Pages 280
Dimensions 279 x 229
Date Published 30 Nov 2016
Publisher University of Michigan Press
Subject/s Urban communities   Ethnic studies   Urban economics  
Camilo José Vergara was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2002and received a Berlin Prize Fellowship in 2010. In 2013, he became thefirst photographer to be awarded the National Humanities Medal. Heis author of numerous books, including Silent Cities: The Evolution ofthe American Cemetery; The New American Ghetto; and Harlem: TheUnmaking of a Ghetto.

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