Prof. Apel comments on photo depictions of Detroit...

Detroit Free Press

Bruce Weber photo doesn't tell whole story of DIA exhibit subject's life
by Mark Stryker

In Detroit the distortions of so-called ruin porn, images of postindustrial decay, have been widely criticized as reductive. But upbeat images and those that idealize the city's grit or its eccentricities also can distort. "It's understandable that Detroiters would be annoyed that the vitality of the city is overwhelmed by the sense of ruination," said Dora Apel, who holds an endowed chair in art history at Wayne State University and has written widely on photography. "The ruins are real. That's not a distortion. The distortion is the idea that the city is dead. But there's a tendency to overcompensate. What you want is not one extreme or the other but a real sense of the complexity and nuance."