Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre – The Ruins of Detroit

Spotlight on January 7, 2011 3:19 pm

As many images as I have seen, I’m not sure that I can ever tire of looking at the decaying parts of Detroit. It fits into my desire to sneak into abandoned buildings, old run-down houses and empty towns. I remember one summer my mom took my sister and I to an artist colony. The ‘kids’ of the artists would go to a crook nearby, and while everyone was gossiping or laying out in the sun I would walk around gathering the old glass soda bottles that had collected at the bottom. The shape of the bottles and old brand logos made me as excited as if I had found gold. I would spend the rest of the day imaging the people who had drank that soda or beer and carelessly thrown it to the bottom. I love when things are left untouched and unseen. This work, the result of a five-year collaboration which started in 2005, are quite stunning. See all of it here.

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre - Michigan Central Station/From website

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre - 18th floor dentist cabinet, David Broderick Tower/From website

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre - Bagley-Clifford Office of the National Bank of Detroit/From website

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre - United Artists Theater/From website

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre - Melted clock, Cass Technical High School/From website

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre - St Christopher House, ex-Public Library/From website

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre - Ballroom, Lee Plaza Hotel/From website


  • These photos are at once beautiful and at the same time horrifying.

    Living in one of the bright spots along the rust-belt (Pittsburgh) I have to say I feel like crying for Detroit when I hear stories of the population loss or see photo stories about a city that once was so critical to the entire country.

    As the sadness hits I have to think about the fact that there is still life in Detroit and this once great city may see a rebirth that will stun the world but while she still crumbles and largely sits abandoned I can’t help but feel her pain. I just hope she comes back from the hospice before all of these amazing places are beyond repair.

    • Hi Don,
      Thank you for such a wonderful, thoughtful comment. There does seem to be some pretty great things happening in Detroit, too, a shift to creativity and people using spaces available to make art. And that’s wonderful, we need more of that. As much as the decay is beautiful, it is heart-wrenching to think of how such bustling spots are left empty and uncared for. I haven’t spent enough time in Detroit but I am not more than ever interested in visiting.
      Thanks again for visiting and for your words.
      All the best, Kate

  • http://www.viceland.com/int/v16n8/htdocs/something-something-something-detroit-994.php?page=1

    Interesting article in Vice about the trend of photographers converging on Detroit for extreme ‘disaster porn’ shots. That said, these photos are pretty astounding!

  • I used to live in Michigan. The city is so sad. There are full skyscrapers vacant. Love some of these shots.

  • Chris Martin

    I live in Detroit and I have seen some of the buildings on this page persionaly…my father went to cass abd I think that it is truely sad what is happening to my city

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