It’s been kind of hit-and-miss with the nice days in Michigan this spring. Now, I’m not really one to mind rain, but my camera seems to have a rather noticeable aversion to it. Last week summer came out of nowhere and hasn’t shown signs of leaving. That paired with a bit of free time, I journeyed into downtown Pontiac for a bit of photography.
If you aren’t local to Metro Detroit, I’ll understand if you don’t really know much about Pontiac. Let me explain it like so: If they were looking for somewhere to film “I Am Legend,” Pontiac wouldn’t even need CGI or set design. I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. “Desolate” is a good word for this situation.
I like to refer to Pontiac as Detroit v2.0. In addition to the lack of anything redeeming, the city seems to be headed toward 2 extremes of a spectrum. On one hand, artists and galleries are making their way downtown and creating a kind of depressing version of Ferndale-Corktown. Also, by my count, there are half a dozen locally well-known nightclubs. There’s also Erebus, a rather famous haunted house.
On the other hand the city is like a ghetto. Nearly all the schools have closed, which forced the assimilation of multiple schools under one roof and has resulted in more than a handful of gang brawls, including shootings and the like. Driving around, I feel like perhaps 1 in 7 buildings is abandoned or in need of demolishing. A good 80% of the businesses that are still open are all lumped into a 3-block stretch of a single street. I even drove past the homeless shelter yesterday and noticed there was a special parking area just for female staff members (it’s well-lit and right next to an entrance).
Even the cops left. Seriously – last year the Pontiac PD was decommissioned. The city is now paroled by State PD.
I’ve always liked Pontiac and I don’t want to say it’s hopeless, but when I see news articles about the “revitalization of Pontiac,” I usually just ignore them and move on. Detroit has a fighting chance – enough people care and are actively trying to improve the city. Pontiac isn’t really getting the same energy.
Well, scattered among the vast seas of parking lots, there are quite a few grand structures that deserve some photographic attention. So, I suppose I’ve found my new project. Here are a few of my favorite shots so far. They will be on my fine art site and available for purchase after I feel I’ve really sunk my teeth into the project.