Today on the show we’re talking to Charlie LeDuff about Detroit and the term ‘ruin porn’ comes up in the conversation. So for some background, here’s an excellent essay, “Detroitism: What does ruin porn tell us about the Motor City, ourselves, other American cities” by John Patrick Leary.
That some of the recent focus on Detroit ruins is exploitative in its depiction of Detroit’s impoverishment bears repeating, but more compelling are the reasons for our contemporary fascination with images of first-world urban decline, and not just in the Motor City. Ruin websites, photography collections, and urban exploration blogs chronicle industrial ruins across North America and Europe, from Youngstown, Ohio to Bucharest, Romania. Yet Detroit remains the Mecca of urban ruins.
Image of the Detroit Marine Harbor Terminal by JRE313 via Flickr
The phrase “Ruin Porn” meant something totally different to me until today.