The niece of Detroit’s leading architectural engineer, photographer Jennifer Garza-Cuen shot a series of images documenting the American city in decay.
“When her uncle’s building, The Book Tower, itself was abandoned due to a mix up with the power company, Jennifer traveled to Detroit for one last winter.” With a background in photography as well as art history and visual culture, the photographer’s work captures the transition from a formerly flourishing city being home to the States’ most renowned car companies to a place shaken by an economic crises with grand buildings turned into run-down houses. Additionally, the images feature portraits of the city’s residents in public spaces.
Speaking of the inspiration and process behind the series, Garza-Cuen tells the following story: “A distant niece to Detroit’s premier Architectural Engineer, Jennifer spent winters with her uncle. The frigid weather keeping them mostly indoors she occupied herself for days on end wandering the abandoned ruins of the aging high-rises her uncle was paid to restore. Occasionally, they took long winter walks along the river and through the neighborhoods. They encountered strangers on the streets and behind previously unopened doors and mapped an imagined city of former grandeur. As if she had been born in a home for the elderly her experience of the city was forever tied to its eventual demise. When her uncle’s building, The Book Tower, itself was abandoned due to a mix up with the power company, Jennifer traveled to Detroit for one last winter.”