Crime and Futility in Detroit


This picture was very striking to me.  As we know today crime is a serious problem in Detroit and what better way to capture the decline of Detroit than a picture of police department overwhelmed with photos of criminals.  It seems that only thing to increase while the city was deteriorating was crime and unemployment.  While the wealthy folk took advantage of their newly found mobility, those who weren’t so fortunate were the ones to stay and with a dying economy with a severe unemployment problem some were left without options turning to a life of crime to support their needs.

            From a more analytical aspect of the photo, it presents a number of appealing elements.  First of all, I interpret the image as a medium shot that informs the viewer of a certain aspect of the weakening city.  This aspect, which I touched upon in the first paragraph, is the overpowering amount of misconduct that has plaguing the city.  The photo exemplifies this idea by capturing forceful features to tell the story.  The numerous photographs strewn about the room are the most obvious of this, but are accompanied by chaotic drawers and filing cabinets with open doors, aged paint cracking off the doors, and even a phone off the hook.  These features bring about a sense of futility that the police must have been facing during this time.  This futility must have reached such a point where they had no choice but to desert their operations.

Additionally, the photographer further adds appeal to the image by their use of several compositional strategies.  The main strategies I observed were viewpoint, depth, framing, and balance.  The viewpoint of the image enhances the depth by providing a discernible foreground, middle ground, and background.  The viewpoint as chosen from behind the table allows the viewer’s eye to first be drawn to the array of photographs on the table but as the line of vision flows back into the middle ground the scattered documents and desks further the experience, but we are left at an abrupt end at the wall in the back of the room.  The closed nature of the walls combined with the framing, since the photographer chose to crop the rest of the room out, add to the sense of clutter enriching the futile and overwhelming nature in the photo.  Finally, although the photographer chose to crop out the right half of the room the image still possesses a composition of balance.  The door on the right with the paint cracking off balances out the commotion of the other elements that lay in the center and right side of the arrangement. 

            Overall, the photograph does a remarkable job of evoking emotion as well as telling a story without words.


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