Detroit: the most wrongfully underrated city in America / by Jiri Duzar

I haven’t stopped thinking about my time in Detroit ever since I left the city so how come it took me more than a year and a half to write this down? I have been to many places all around the US before and since then, but thankfully I did not forget any of what I experienced and all the friendships I made there. How could I?

You won’t find Detroit on top of many people’s travel bucket list for two reasons: misjudgment (applies mostly to Americans, imho) and low awareness (for anyone outside of the US). Well, I wasn’t any better, to be honest. All I used to know as a foreigner were three things: Red Wings, Motown, and Eminem. What put it finally on the map for me and made me want to go was a movie and a book. “Only Lovers Left Alive” by Jim Jarmusch and “Detroit: An American Autopsy” by Charlie LeDuff.

Both the movie and book tell a better story (fictional and real) about the city than I can. So watch it and read it. I’m dedicating this photo essay to people of Detroit, especially to all of those mentioned below, who are the main reason why I had such a great time.

  • Nicole and Matt whose home in West Village felt also like my home. Our debates about religion and politics, shared meals and beers and your hospitality won’t be forgotten.

  • Hannah who I met through Allison from Brooklyn. Hannah introduced me to Alex and off we went to explore the Saturday flea market at Ponyride. Later on, we hang out at Eastern Market and ate pizza at Supino (the best thin-crust pie in town).

  • At Ponyride, we met with Josh, the founder of York Project. Well, first I met his parents as I was secretly photographing them at a coffee bar. They said I should speak to their son who was looking for a photographer and the rest is history. The people wearing York Project during the shoot were Hannah and Alex.

  • Vadim who I met through Randi was my cycling companion around the Belle Isle. I had a tough time to keep up with his pace on my 1980s Chicago Schwinn I bought on Craigslist for $120 upon my arrival but it was a lot of fun. We ate at a Polish restaurant, went to the movies and sauna. He also found the location for the York Project photoshoot.

  • Alex introduced me to his pals Armando and Al and we went to this absolutely sick outdoor techno party outside of Detroit. Those 5 AM hot dogs at Lafayette Coney Island were the cherry on the top of the cake.

  • At the techno party, I met Veera from Finland who found her artist residency in Detroit. Together we went to the gig of Echo & the Bunnymen that brought back some Donnie Darko flashbacks. To close the circle, I introduced Veera to Nicole and Matt and she stayed with them for a few days after my departure.

And I could go on and on… One thing is more than certain, one day I will be back!