by Michael R. Allen
Photograph by Nicole Rork for Detroit Ruins. Used with permission.
I want you to look at a website of photographs of abandoned places…
I already sense the disinterest.
Well, hear me out. I want you to look at Detroit Ruins.
I want you to see how Nicole Rork offers a tour of the ruins of Detroit, Gary and a few other cities through images that are at once prosaic and beautiful. I want you to notice that she provides short histories of the places she documents, with accurate information and links to other sources. Rork captures the vividness of faded colors, the brightness in dark rooms and the larger world in confined spaces. She’s a bit of a conjurer — taking shots with views wide enough to suggest that life in some form is lurking right outside of the frame of the still scenes she documents. Perhaps she is confronting that force somewhere while her camera takes its picture. Perhaps not. Does it matter? The subject matter itself gains a new life through her gaze.
I want you to look at Detroit Ruins.