Arianna Arcara e Luca Santese, Found photos in Detroit
The Found Photos in Detroit project grew out of a desire to make a photo-documentary on the city of Detroit.
The original intention was to chronicle the city’s current state of decadence and abandon resulting from the well-known socio-economic crisis of the Seventies.
During our first trip there, however, we found an array of abandoned photographs and documents lying around many public buildings (police stations, schools, hospitals), including letters, files and criminal records as well as family photos.
The material immediately revealed its strong documentary potential and thus transformed the original plan of making a photo-documentary into a reconstruction operation.
Some one thousand images were collected in all, but following a preliminary editing phase they were cut down to a sequence of two hundred and fifty-eight documents. The underlying rationale of the selection process was to consider all the material for what it basically is, namely a document, regardless of its criminal or civil, public or private nature. Every single item is a piece of evidence unto itself.
The Found Photos in Detroit project includes the publication of a book of the same name, which earned seven nominations as the best photography book of the year, and was selected by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger for the Photobook: A History Vol. III series, which brings together the best 200 photo-books since the end of World War Two.