In a city as vast and culturally diverse as Detroit, addressing issues of fair representation can be daunting. But for the organizers of Facing Change: Documenting Detroit, the solution could not be simpler—mentor a cohort of local emerging photographers and encourage them to capture their own view of the city. On Friday, September 23rd, the Detroit Institute of Arts co-hosted a screening of works by the 21 photographers from the weeklong 2016 Spring Fellowship program, sharing these multivaried perspectives against the backdrop of one of the city’s storied institutions.
These photographers—Gabriela Baginski, MarQuez Bell, Julian Bibb, Zac Clark, Amethyst Davis, Brian Day, Jon DeBoer, Cydni Elledge, Danya Ensing, Razi Jafri, Steve Koss, Ali Lapetina, Jarod Lew, Justin Milhouse, Rolando Palacio, Amy Sacka, Felicia Tolbert, Anahli Vazquez, Alexandre da Veiga, Sean Work, and Rosamaria Zamarron—were each paired with a mentor to help them cultivate their skills and hone their take on Detroit. The mentors’ experiences were just as wide-ranging as the Fellows, from Salwan Georges, a staff photographer at the Detroit Free Press who had a recent exhibit at the Arab American National Museum, to Carlos Diaz, a photographer of Southwest Detroit, and national photojournalists Brian Palmer, Krisanne Johnson and Kate Bubacz.
Facing Change: Documenting Detroit is a subset of Facing Change: Documenting America, a nonprofit dedicated to “exploring America and its critical issues.” In an era of technological advances that make everyone with a smartphone a potential documentarian, it is both an obvious and an innovative mission to employ everyday photographers in the pursuit of a visual archive of real American life.