One More Rant: Detroit Doesn’t Need This Kind of Attention

May I rant for a moment? There’s this little Craig’s List posting regarding Detroit that has me steamed – and I’m ready to make my statement.

For reference, here’s the post that’s got me riled up. It was listed this week in the jobs section of this normally benign Website:

“We are a media group in Hollywood seeking a photographer to collaborate on a video which will highlight the deterioration of industry and housing in the Detroit area, partly as a result of unions overpricing labor. We would like photographs similar to those included in the Time magazine photo essay The Remains of Detroit but perhaps including more of the personal devastation. There is no pay (we are doing this as a public service spot) but there is the opportunity for tremendous exposure. Please write to us with your resume and a link to samples.”

Ahem. I’d like to speak on behalf of pretty much all of us who hold Detroit in high regard. And whomever you are – Dearest Hollywood Media Group – we collectively don’t want your public-service spot. There’s no reason why anyone should help you out…especially pro bono. And if you find someone who wants to do so, then I’m sure there’s much, much more they would do for said “tremendous exposure.” I’m thinking MTV’s “Real World” or “Jersey Shore” level of hell.

Now, I did email the Craig’s List address given on the advertisement. I told them who I was and what website I write for right here. I asked them to give me some more detail on what this project is and what exactly they planned on doing about Detroit. No response. Zilch. Zero. Nada. It kinda makes me think that they don’t want any exposure right now – tremendous or not. That’s well and fine.

The part that really gets me is the idea of seeking out stories of “personal devastation” for this collaborative video. Yuck. It makes my skin crawl. Perhaps this is some group that has a bone to pick with organized labor; I know plenty of groups out there like that. Fine. But do you really have to throw Detroit under the bus as part of your own desire to rail against unions? Seems fishy to me.

And I’m not one to defend or decry the Time project. I was a proud participant, and I’ll talk about it with anyone. But having that particular photo essay brought up should make any Metro Detroiter suspicious. These may be so-called “true” photos of the city, but they certainly have an editorial slant. There is a bias there, and that’s all I’m saying.

You want to do something about Detroit? How about making a video like this one circling the Internet by the city of Grand Rapids? On YouTube, it is billed as “the international sensation that Roger Ebert calls ‘The Greatest Music Video Ever Made.'” It’s all about how GR is alive, well and feeling fine after being called a “dead city” by a website and news magazine.

The video’s creator, Rob Bliss, is so popular on Facebook – where he organizes his awesomeness — that he had to start a couple new FB pages to keep all his fans informed. His work is monumental; watch the Lipdub video and I dare you not to be impressed. He is about the coolest 20something around in my book. His work? That’s something I can get behind. Sign me up to be one of the Nerf gun gals. (Feel like making one in Detroit? Call me!)

So…that’s my rant. I’m feeling better now. I’m going back to my other interviews, research and writing about the city. Then, I’m going to put on my big, old cheerleader uniform and find some pretty pictures with my Flip camera to share with this so-called Media Group. I don’t think they’ll be using them any time soon. But I can at least try.

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One comment on “One More Rant: Detroit Doesn’t Need This Kind of Attention

  1. It bugs me to see photographers who only want to shoot decay and blight of the city. I have been making a point of seeking out the more colorful side of Detroit buildings. Brightly painted businesses. I have made a point of posting thaws on Flickr and my Facebook page just to give a different view of the D.

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