If you're wondering why I've been quiet lately, it's because I've been overseas for a month. The trip was part holiday and part research trip, and it took me to Florida, New Orleans, Detroit, Massachusetts, and New York City. I am working on a new project about memory, forgetting, and obsolescence in the digital age, and I wanted to meet and interview various people whose work or stories (or both) have inspired me. I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple of days with DetroitUrbex, whose photographs of abandoned Detroit buildings are simply stunning. Have a look at the now-and-then pictures of Cass Technical High School to get a sense of how amazing this work is. We talked about Detroit's history, visited some abandoned schools, and talked about the process and the philosophy of urban exploration. It was one of the most interesting experiences I've had, with one of the most fascinating people I've met. Below is a picture that I took in one of the abandoned places we visited, a Catholic school. We also spent time with Kristine Diven, a photographer who takes nude self-portraits among the ruins. She is also co-owner of the gallery District VII, and moved from New York to Detroit because she was so struck by the possibilities that Detroit offers artists. And she has some great stories! Taking your clothes off in an abandoned building takes some serious courage, as perhaps you can imagine.
I also had a wonderful guide in New Orleans, Kym, who took me around and showed me the non-tourist side of the city. And in western Massachusetts, I met with Stacy Waldman from House of Mirth. Stacy's a vintage photograph dealer, and she also trades in old diaries and journals sometimes, too. On an exceptionally rainy afternoon, she welcomed me into her house and talked about the sometimes weird obsessions that drive us to collect.
Everyone I met was incredibly generous, kind, and open, and I cannot thank them enough. More on this project as it unfolds . . .