Detroit's Abandoned Theaters (Photos)

Story courtesy of City's Best.

By Ben Worcester

A few weeks ago, City's Best writer Karen Dybis talked to photographer Michael Hodges about his series of photographs called Unexpected Detroit. This piece introduced me to the growing subculture of artists and photographers who are fascinated with urban decay, not to mention the rather unsavory term of "ruin porn" and all of the controversy surrounding the new artistic genre.

So when I came across this piece on BuzzFeed that presented 75 abandoned theaters from around the country, my eye was caught right away and it wasn't long before I had scrolled all the way through the post. Detroit, as you can imagine, was pretty well represented. Contrary to the criticism surrounding a lot of ruin porn, I didn't find any of the images exploitative. To my untrained eye, they seemed to be celebrating the former glory of the past by finding beauty among the ruins. Take for example the Quo Vadis, a gorgeous and stylish Detroit landmark (designed by World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki), that was torn down recently. In many cases, the photographs are all that's left. Also, they're pretty cool.

But I guess you can decide for yourself. So here are a few examples from photographers around the world of Flickr. I've included MapQuest links for those who want to go check out the areas for themselves, though not everything is as it was. The Eastown was recently gutted by fire and the Duke Theater was also razed to the ground. If these images whet your appetite, you should definitely check out Buildings of Detroit and Water Witder Wonderland for a much more thorough experience.