Detroit, however, can't blame its vacant buildings and abandoned houses on the weather. Instead, it has become a favorite proxy for discussions about America as a whole: of Main Streets and blue collars, of outsourcing and free trade, of urban renewal and urban decay.
Yves Marchand and Romaine Meffre document this tension in their book The Ruins of Detroit. Their photographs -- including "Michigan Central Station," "Fisher Body 21," "William Livingstone House," and "Classroom, St Mary's School" -- tell a story beyond the political elections or theories of decline. Instead, Marchand and Meffre approach Detroit with the curiosity of one generation trying to decipher the one that came before.
"Even though the buildings are not religious," Meffre said in the March/April issue of Intelligent Life, "they express a belief in the future and in the system. They are their cathedrals. They have a sort of naivety, a dream, an awareness of destiny that is a bit like religious belief.”