Detroit - Where We Used to Live by Bill Schwab


Detroit - Where We Used To Live

At its peak around 1950, Detroit was home to 1.85 million people. Fueled by the auto industry going back to Henry Ford’s extraordinary pay offer of $5 a day in 1914, the middle class rose and prospered. Houses were built almost on top of each other. Stores thrived. Church pews filled on Sundays.

That was the Detroit where photographer Bill Schwab was born into a second-generation auto family. That was Detroit before riots in 1967 and white flight to the suburbs took its toll on the population followed by factory automation, City Hall inaction, the Great Recession and the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

At night, Bill travels areas in a fast state of flux, finding large swathes of ruralization and deterioration against a backdrop of skies dramatic in color and mood. Street lights, porch lights, window lights, bridge lights, moonlight shine quietly.

Bill Schwab is a fine art photographer with a world-wide collector base. His work is part of many private, corporate and museum collections, including Detroit Institute of Arts, George Eastman House, 20th Century Fox, Royal Caribbean and MGM Grand. Schwab also founded North Light Press in 2005 with a mission to support and publish the work of emerging and established photographers. In addition, Schwab teaches various traditional processes at North Light Photographic Workshops. And, he is founder and host of Photostock, an annual summer solstice gathering of photographers, collectors and enthusiasts featuring workshops, presentations, reviews and demonstrations. Schwab lives between Dearborn and Harbor Springs, Mich.

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