This City’s on Fire

On the way to a friend’s house in Southfield, MI, I drove over an intersection with good visibility and saw a plume of smoke on the horizon.  Thinking it would be something close, small, and insignificant, I picked up my buddy and we went to check it out.  (We are photographers after all).

Well, as we were heading in the direction of the smoke, we realized it must be bigger than I thought because we didn’t seem to be getting closer.  Turns out it was actually 20 miles away.

From what I gather, it was an abandoned factory complex on Detroit’s West Side and the PD have no idea what happened.

To reiterate the scale, we met up with a volunteer firefighter from a northern suburb.  He was there because he saw the fire from Auburn hills – almost 40 miles away.

Here are some of the shots.

– Jon

Danger? Where’s My Camera?

It was about 10ish years ago, but I remember it rather clearly.  I was sitting in my room with headphones on (quite loudly) and I could still hear these thumps.  It was probably more “felt.”  With the music off and standing on the back porch, the remote wail of sirens filled the evening.  The thumps continued.

So, my father and I piled in the van and drove through neighborhoods around us trying to see what happened.

Through the trees we saw the sky glowing, but the color was coming from the ground.  As we rounded the K-Mart, we saw what was causing the commotion.  There was a blaze we could feel from a quarter mile away.  Jets of fire were shooting 50 or 60 feet into the air.

Clearly there was too much hullabaloo for us to really understand what happened, but from the crowd that had gathered, we deduced that a shop owned by a hydroplane boat racer had caught fire.  We tried to get closer but were dutifully turned back.  The following day, we found out that the tanks of racing fuel had somehow combusted and compromised the acetylene equipment.  When I walked down to see the building, I saw that an entire wall had been blown outward as though The Hulk was inside.

A decade later and well into a career in photography, I still think about the pictures I would have gotten had I had a camera with me.

This also brings up the “photo journalism argument.”  Is is OK to profit from taking pictures of things or events that destroyed someone’s life or income?  I suppose I still haven’t decided which mindset I have.  So until that point, I’ll continue to take pictures of things that intrigue me.

As you can probably guess, there was a fire.  It was at a tree maintenance company about 3 miles from my house.

– Jon

Gettin’ All Kinds Of Corporate

On an occasional basis, I do some work with Third Estate Design, a graphic media company out of Tecumseh, Michigan.

In October, they forwarded me to a client who needed some imagery of their keynote speaker.

Vital Skills Intl. Is a unique and interesting company based in Rochester, Michigan.  They essentially teach companies and employees how to achieve consistent results through an understanding of proper confrontation and conversation management.  As an added bonus to the job, I’m picking up quite a few tips and tricks.

The job is 3 stages long and I’ve just finished up the first part – Candid Event Coverage.

Stay tuned for updates featuring portraits and video spots.  And be sure to check out their site!

– Jon

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NAIAS And a Total Lack of Interest in Cars

I’m not a big “car guy.”  If you know me at all, you probably already knew that.
Well, last winter, a group of fellow photographers went downtown to ogle the curves (both the cars’ and the models’).  In the spirit of journalistic creation, I joined in.  As expected, once I arrived, the seething mass of “aficionados” easily overwhelmed the subject of the event.

As with any large public gathering I attend, my focus was on the people looking at things instead of the things they were looking at.  Oddly enough, a lot of people looked really bored (most of them were working the booths).

Here are some shots – sorry they’re nearly a year late…

– Jon