Center for Fine Art Photography features ‘Detroit: Unbroken Down’

Randi Mattox

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Some of the photos in Dave Jordano’s exhibit. Photo courtesy Dave Jordano

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“Rough,” “gritty” and “racially divided” are some of the stereotypical words people use to describe the individuals of Detroit, Michigan. But for fine arts photographer Dave Jordano, “resilience,” “perseverance” and “determination” are better adjectives to describe the individuals of his hometown. 

The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins opened an exhibit called “Detroit: Unbroken Down” by Jordano on Jan. 15. Through a collection of 20 photographs, Jordano features the people of Detroit in a way most have never seen before. 

Center for Fine Art Photography CEO, executive director and curator Hamidah Glasgow said Jordano began photographing Detroit when the city started to collapse. 

“For the first couple of years, he was photographing what everyone else was photographing, which were the empty buildings and what we would call ruin for the sake of ruin,” said Glasgow. 

Glasgow said that Jordano began searching for a better way to add to the conversation about Detroit. 

“There is a seven mile area where all of this money is being spent to revitalize Detroit, but all around the outside of that area, people are not seeing any of that,” said Glasgow. “So he began photographing the people living outside of that seven mile area who are surviving just by sheer will.”

Glasgow said the Center for Fine Art Photography has displayed Jordano’s work before, but never an entire collection until “Detroit: Unbroken Down.” 

“I finally realized that we needed to show all of the work together as a collection because it’s just incredible,” said Glasgow. “I invited him to come and have a show.”

Glasgow wanted to display this particular collection because of the stories behind each photograph. Glasgow said that Jordano displays a rare skill in “Detroit: Unbroken Down” that allows the viewer to have a relationship with the people in the pictures. 

“All of his portraits are all really intimate in a way that the people he is photographing are just people you want to meet and talk to,” said Glasgow. “There’s always this really incredibly close dialogue with the people.”

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Glasgow said the exhibit shows human resilience. 

“He has this way with people,” said Glasgow. “You feel like they are people that you know or should know. People that just have hope and try to make the best of whatever their situations are.”

Glasgow will be hosting a director’s talk about the collection on February 27 at 11 a.m., which is the last day “Detroit: Unbroken Down” will be available for viewing at the Center for Fine Art Photography. Glasgow encourages people to view the exhibit and gain a new perspective. 

“People have been overwhelmed with Dave’s exhibition,” said Glasgow. “People love it. I encourage people to come just to get a different understanding and to open their minds about the many ways that photography is being used today.”

Signed books of “Detroit: Unbroken Down” are available for purchase at the Center for Fine Art Photography for $53.70. 

The Center for Fine Art Photography located at 400 N. College Avenue is open 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday. 

Collegian Reporter Randi Mattox can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @randimattox.