Scattered Documents, Disrupted Lives

Highland Park Police Station

This photo of the Highland Park Police Station, as featured in “The Ruins of Detroit,” is quite compelling.  As an Administration of Justice major, this image, in particular, caught my attention.  The idea of the police is to protect and serve no matter the situation.  When this particular suburb Detroit station was disbanded, the building sat empty.  It was broken into and looted.  The population in Detroit has been declining since the 1950s.  The scene depicted in this photo reminds me of the people of Detroit.  The scattered photographs that clutter the table and the papers strewn across the floor represent the disrupted lives of the citizens of Detroit.  To leave all of that important information behind, almost seems like a crime in itself.  These individuals’ identities and fingerprints were left for any looter to see or take.  To see a police station look like this makes me feel insecure and unprotected.  The abandonment of this building represents the abandoning of the city and the people of Detroit.  The overlapping of the photographs and documents create more depth in this photograph.  It makes the viewer want to see the individual items due to the obscuring of some of the objects. From the patterns of the tiles on the walls to the rigid filing cabinets, a place that should be well kept is in disarray. The pattern is broken by all of the scattered papers, the peeling paint, and the out of place cabinets and chair. This image fits perfectly into the photo essay of “The Ruins of Detroit.”  The collection of photographs in this photo essay display Detroit after abandonment.  The apartment buildings, the hotels, the schools, and the churches are all staples in “normal” communities.  For this community to have these important buildings in such bad conditions, makes me empathize with the people living there.  Their lives have been turned upside down and I could not imagine walking through a “ghost town” like the one Detroit has become.


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