Click to preview no STEREO in MOTOWN photo book

“Believe me, the city being in decline the way it is -- we feel it to the effect of losing your grandmother or a parent,” he said. "A lot of times people will make jokes about their hometown, but we make jokes to hide the pain.”
-- Lindsey Porter, first elected mayor of Highland Park after Chrysler Corporation moved out

Rummaging through a Detroit photo store, I found an antique Kodak Stereo camera, which my father helped me to purchase. Yet, I didn't discover until years later that it still took wonderful 3D color pictures. By this time, I was a Curator of Education at the University of California Riverside’s California Museum of Photography.

Having the job of giving tours of the CMP collection of vintage cameras and stereographs provided me the opportunity to study the technology up-close as well as the medium's complex social history; how these photographs shaped society’s cultural perceptions of foreign lands and foreign peoples during the Victorian era.

NO STEREO IN MOTOWN is about a turning point in Detroit's history. The images and accompanying text speak of competing desires and hopes; of deferred dreams and occasional indifference. The Detroit-Highland Park of these images is dead -- waiting to harness the spirit of its rebirth; a rebirth that has already begun in the hearts of those who call this city home.

Technically and metaphorically, the photos in this series are shot with a stereo film camera. Yet each half-frame is matched with a dissimilar half-frame creating a “disruptive” image; one that is open to narrative, and resistant to illusion -- much like the city itself.


About the Author

Reggie Woolery
rwool Riverside, CA

Reggie Woolery writes a weekly photo blog at: His writings on digital media and photography have appeared in Bomb, NKA: Journal of African-American Art, TRANS, Black Film Review and FUSE: Journal of Arts & Culture, where he served as contributing editor.

Reggie's multimedia work has been featured at The Photographer's Gallery, London, the 40th Flaherty Film Seminar, and at MIT in Race in Digital Space. He has been an artist fellow at the Society of Humanities at Cornell University, Banff Centre for the Arts, and a critical studies fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program.

Woolery's received project support from Art Matters, New York State Arts Council, New York Foundation for the Arts, National Black Programming Consortium, and ITVS, among others. He has degrees from Parsons School of Design and New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program of Tisch School of the Arts.

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