Long a major population center and automotive center, the City of Detroit has gone through an economic and demographic decline in recent decades. The population of the city has fallen from a peak of 1,8 million people in 1950 to about 680,000 residents in 2015. The automobile industry has suffered from global competition and Detroit manufacturers merged into other companies and eventually disappeared. Economic restructuring, high unemployment and middle-class flight, left the city with a higher poor population, a drained tax base, depressed property values, abandoned homes and factories, fragmented families, high crime rates, and a desolate, inhospitable city landscape.
Not so very long ago, in its golden age, Detroit was a rich, beautiful city, with single-family houses in the Middle American style, full of vibrant people. Hungarian photographer Flora BorsiI, tried to imagine how its streets and buildings might have looked in the past decades. “I have been to Detroit two times and I visited abandoned places that were really touching me. They’re amazing because of how time and nature changed them, and made me wonder how they looked when people were living, working there. I wanted to bring life back from the past decades.” She found pictures of the people of Detroit, from the previous century, and combined them with the photos she took during a recent visit to the city. Flora repopulated the Motor City with lively characters from its golden age, who wander the deserted streets, work in abandoned factories and marry in rubble.
“I hope that people will see how vibrant the city of Detroit was, and still can be. People there need to work, and these factories aren’t lost even if they look abandoned on the surface. The history of these companies are in people’s hearts and they want it back. I wanted to support them with this series.”