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Picture Perfect: Around Detroit in 365 Days


If you were going to set out to take 365 different pictures and tell that many individual stories about Detroit, what would you capture? There’s allot to love about the Motor City, but the idea of finding that many great images/people would be daunting.

In one year, that’s what photographer, writer and unabashed Detroit fan Amy Sacka is doing with her personal, visual journal of a city she loves. With her website and Facebook pages “Owen Was Here” is showcasing what’s good in the “D.” One image, one story at a time, Sacka is capturing a beauty and uniqueness that even long time Detroiters may not have experienced.

Growing up in metro Detroit, she cut her teeth at a local advertising agency as a copywriter and then set off on a sort of career walkabout that has taken her half way around the world to places like Delhi, Syria and Sydney to name a few. Settling in Seattle a couple of years ago, she built her business, continuing to travel to points across the globe and frequently back home to Detroit.

At the beginning of 2012, she noticed she was spending quite a bit of time in her travels coming back home to visit family and wondered out loud if a move back to the “313” was something she would seriously consider. In what would end up being an eight month long transition process (including hiring a life coach), she took the leap and made the decision to move right into the heart of the city. It just so happened the timing of the move coincided with the birth of her niece – just another compelling reason to make the change. Now, she is a proud Woodbridge resident.

“People have such a strong attachment to Detroit,” says Sacka.  “Of everywhere I’ve been in the world, I have what I call a “beautiful fondness” for the city.” That fondness is what led her to start her journey with “Owen was Here.”
Owen is one of her nephews. He symbolically serves as a sort of persona for the many great discussions and photo journaling she does across the city. “Owen is like a narrator, he gives me a little distance – like a watermark on a photograph.” Every day for the next 365, she will post a photo and a snippet from one of the conversations.

Although she doesn’t consider herself a professional, some of her photos have been editor’s picks in the last year in National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler. One of her pictures, “Scared,” was photo of the week in Ron Howard’s project Imagin8ion.

Being so close to her family, she uses their names as inspiration for much of her professional life, including the name of her copywriting company, JAKE Creative. That is also one of the most glaring reasons for the move back – family.


Performance art downtown Detroit

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9 comments on “Picture Perfect: Around Detroit in 365 Days

  1. My sentiments exactly. I'm 81 and lived in Detroit when it was at it's peak. I'm so happy to see it coming back to life……..Thanks to all of you who have invested in our city.

  2. I was blown away when I first saw the doco "Requiem for Detroit a few years ago. I'm Australian, from a smallish city north of Sydney called Newcastle. We still have a harbour exporting coal, but our twentieth century was being a steelworks and major shipping dockyard – we are basically an invented, industrial city like you. We do not have your drug, unemployment and arson problems but we are going through similar social/economic adjustments and can learn so much from the energy, positivity and practicality of your locals who are passionate about reinventing your city. Always remember that the concept of apocalypse includes the notion of rebirth. I'm typing this on New years eve, so all the best in 2013 to Detroit!

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