Born and raised in South Detroit (i.e., Windsor, Ontario, Canada), baby boomers Chris Edwards and Elaine Weeks had their first date poolside at the Ponchartrain Hotels’ PJazz in 1980 (Elaine still has her t-shirt!) Their mutual love of all things Detroit sparked a lasting union with each other, and the Motor City.
Growing up in the shadow of Motown, Chris and Elaine traveled north across the American/Canadian border countless times to enjoy the wonders of J.L. Hudson’s (especially at Christmas), hop on the little train through the Detroit Zoo, cheer for the Boys of Summer (proud bleacher creatures in ‘84), line up to board the Bob-Lo boat, scarf down coneys (Lafayette!), Better Made chips (can’t just have one!) and a Stroh’s or Vernor’s, bliss out at rock, blues, and jazz concerts, wander through the incomparable DIA, safely ride the Mugger Mover, and snap photos.
Lots of photos.
They tuned to Motown, Bob Seger and Mitch Ryder on their city’s Big 8 - CKLW radio station, (sixties Detroit acts played all over the area, including Windsor High School dances), then later to ABX, W4, and CJOM, glued to their TV sets to watch Soupy, Sir Graves, Sonny, Bozo and Swingin’ Time on Channels 2-4-7-9, read the Freep and the News every Sunday. Some might say they absorbed more American news and culture by living on Detroit’s border than from Canada.
With numerous friends and relatives on the Detroit side of the river, the city’s allure became ever more magnetic. During the 1967 Riots/Uprising, not only were they transfixed by the smoke rising across the river, Chris’s family provided safe haven for Detroit friends. And years later, one of those friends was Best Man at their wedding.
Returning to the area in 1998, the pair launched a publishing company and a community magazine called ‘The Walkerville Times,’ (the Windsor community founded by Detroiter Hiram Walker), authored six books on the Border Cities, including ‘The Best of the Times Magazine’ (Canadian bestseller); ‘Postcards from the Past – Windsor & The Border Cities;’ ‘A Forgotten City;’ ‘Windsor Then – A Pictorial Essay of Windsor Ontario’s Glorious Past;’ ‘Walkerville – Whisky Town Extraordinaire;’ and ‘500 Ways You Know You’re From Windsor’ (double gold Canadian bestseller). Elaine penned a time travel novel, ‘Time Trespasser – A Man. His Slaves. A Crack in Time,’ featuring Detroit/Windsor’s underground railroad history.
It seemed inevitable that Chris and Elaine would look northward to the Motor City and publish their most expansive history and nostalgia book to date, ‘5000 Ways You Know You’re From Detroit.’
Lowell Boileau is a fine art painter (LowellBoileau.com) and internet innovator. While viewing a primitive website of the University of Illinois’ Krannert Art Museum, his imagination raced: “This can be seen in Paris, Tokyo and across the street? All at once? Twenty-four hours a day? What I had been expressing with paint and canvas could be shared with an audience of billions. Better yet, that audience could converse with me. In early 1994 I built my first website to promote my paintings. “The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit,” was a sympathetic portrait of Detroit as told through a tour of its magnificent abandoned structures. It was lauded as a 1998 Yahoo Pick of Year and profiled in the New York Times and WIRED. It formed the core of my DetroitYES.com project whose forum, begun in 1999, is recognized as the internet’s most incisive discussion on Detroit, with over 2 million posts written by thousands of members. AtDetroit, continues existence as the internet publisher of DetroitYES.com and SoulfulDetroit.com.
Doug Elbinger’s career began as a photojournalist. While still in high school, Doug photographed The Beatles on stage with them during their August 1966 concert in Detroit. Since then, Doug has traveled the world seeking out interesting people, places, and ideas. For over fifty years Elbingers’ work has appeared in countless books, magazines, newspapers, annual reports, album covers, trade journals, catalogs, and web sites. Artists, politicians, businesspeople, and families everywhere have counted on Doug to “put them in a good light.” Over the years, his business interests have evolved from photography to include graphic design, publishing, video production, marketing, and media relations.
Tom Hagerty has more than 25 years of communications experience as a writer, editor, and photographer for private, public, and nonprofit organizations. Tom also works as a freelance photographer, and his clients include the City of Lakeland, the Lakeland Flying Tigers baseball team, and minor league baseball’s Florida State League. Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Seton Hall University and a master’s degree in English from The Ohio State University, where he played on a championship intramural basketball team. A native of Detroit, Tom has a keen interest in all things related to the Motor City, especially the Detroit Tigers. A lifelong baseball fan, Tom has visited close to 50 major- and minor-league ballparks.
Don Hudson was born in Detroit in 1950, and from an early age had a fascination with a kind of power the camera had when it came out during family milestones. “I was a subject then, but as I got a little older, I wanted to feel that power and responsibility the camera conferred. I built my first darkroom during my high school years, and later, after wandering three years at university, decided to act on my love of photography and enrolled in art school. After two years, where I honed my technical skills and studied the history of photography, I left to pursue my life. Soon after leaving I begin associating with a small group of like-minded souls in the Detroit area who were similarly engaged in exploring the camera’s ability to transform the visual world before us. The photographs we made and shared amounted to our own mostly private and arcane conversations with the culture, photographic tradition, and each other, as we sought to understand and put our own accent on the tribal language. Some of these images from the seventies and early eighties were also shown publicly in a few venues around Detroit. As the century wound to an end I found myself gradually spending less energy on my photography. In the early aughts and the advent of decent digital cameras, I rekindled my photography and began photographing in color. Currently I am shooting as much as I did in the late seventies. I am a member of the international photography collective Burn My Eye.”
Dave Jordano is an award winning documentary photographer based in Chicago. Jordano has exhibited both internationally and nationally and his work is included in several private, corporate and museum collections, most notably, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. In 2015 he was awarded the Peter Urban Legacy and Best of Show Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography's annual competition, awarded a finalist position in the triennial Outwin-Boochever Portrait Competition from the Nation Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, and received the prestigious $50,000 AIMIA-AGO Photography Prize in Canada. His first book titled, “Articles of Faith” documented small African American Storefront churches in Chicago and was published in April 2009 by The Center for American Places. His second book, “Detroit: Unbroken Down,” documented the cultural and societal characteristics of the struggling but resilient residents of his hometown of Detroit, published by PowerHouse Books in the fall of 2015.
Carl Lundgren had visions of becoming a fantasy artist and illustrator like Frank Frazetta, his idol. At fourteen, he discovered “The Mouse House,” where budding artist Stanley “Mouse” Miller was airbrushing t-shirts; it made an impression. In 1967, Lundgren met rock poster artist Gary Grimshaw, who was illustrating posters for the Grande Ballroom. Grimshaw assigned him a poster job. Lundgren went on to create poster art for seminal bands like The Who, Jefferson Airplane and Pink Floyd. In 2015, Hermes Press published a repertoire of his works entitled “The Psychedelic Rock Art of Carl Lundgren.”
Howard E. McGraw
A native Detroiter, Howard McGraw was hired at the Detroit News as a copyboy in 1927; six years later he was a staff photographer. Some of his finest images were displayed in a nationwide travelling exhibition sponsored by Encyclopedia Britannica and the National Press Photographera Association. His grandson Scott Allen inherited Howard McGraw’s photos and contributed them to this project.
Russ Marshall was born in 1941 into a family of coal miners, farmers and industrial factory workers in South Fork, Pennsylvania, a thriving coal mining town. Russ Marshall served in the American Navy as a Photographer’s Mate, 1960-64; worked as a freelance photographer for the United Auto Workers, which provided access to factories and workers. He operated a freelance photography business from 1975-2005; his fascination with Detroit emerges through his compelling photographs. Marshall’s work has appeared in numerous exhibitions (Detroit Institute of Arts among many others), books (he is the author of several collections), publications (Stern, New York Magazine, Economist, etc...); his photographs reside in numerous collections.
A lifelong resident of metropolitan Detroit, James Ritchie is a proponent of historic preservation and restoration, and is an active participant in its art. While his images of the city are current, they are reminders of Detroit’s great industrial and cultural heritage, and illustrate the hope, spirit, and enduring strength of its citizens that will drive its revival. They are truly visual representations of the City of Detroit’s motto:“Speramus Meliora – Resurget Cineribus” (We hope for better things - It will rise from the ashes).
Born Magdalene Arndt in East Prussia in 1940, Leni Sinclair and her family fled to East Germany during WWII, which became Communist following the war. She later escaped into West Germany before the construction of the Berlin Wall, packing a small camera – a going away gift from her mother. She came to America, where she dreamed of joining a Bohemian art and music scene. In 1959, she arrived in Detroit, and worked as a housekeeper as she learned English, then began classes at Wayne State while working for “New University Thought” – an influential left-wing arts magazine. She met future husband John Sinclair at the Red Door Gallery. When he invited her to jazz clubs in Detroit, she jumped at the chance to photograph her music idols. John Sinclair helped establish The Detroit Artists Workshop to showcase jazz concerts, poetry readings and art exhibits; Leni photographed its musicians, writers, poets, artists and filmmakers. “We wanted Detroit to be more like San Francisco or New York’s East Village to keep people from leaving for the coasts,” said Leni. When the Grande Ballroom opened on October 6, 1966, Leni teamed up with poster artist Gary Grimshaw, and formed the Magic Veil Light Company to produce psychedelic light shows during rock and roll performances. The Grande’s house band was Detroit’s MC5; Leni photographed many acts booked into The Grande (see page 198). After the riots/rebellion of ’67, the Detroit Police Red Squad increased surveillance of the city’s political organizations, including Trans-Love. The group decamped to Ann Arbor, where a new party emerged, spearheaded by the MC5 who spread its message through performances and recordings. The far left, anti-racist White Panther Party, supporters of the Black Panthers, gained national attention. Leni photographed many counter-cultural figures: Black Panther co-founder Huey Newton; Chicago Seven activists Abby Hoffman, Jerry Ruben and Tom Hayden. The FBI targeted the activities of the White Panther Party and declared it one of the most dangerous organizations in the country. The MC5 severed affiliations with the White Panthers under management advice at Atlantic Records; the White Panthers group was then absorbed by the Rainbow People’s Party. John Sinclair was then sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession of two marijuana cigarettes. Leni along with family, friends, lawyers, journalists, musicians, etc., worked tirelessly for his release (see following page). Leni continued to build her photography portfolio, particularly of jazz musicians through her work for the Detroit City Council. She married John Sinclair in ‘65; they had two children before separating in ‘77, later divorcing. In 2016, she was awarded the prestigious Kresge Foundation’s Eminent Artist Award. Though untrained, or perhaps due to that, Leni Sinclair’s imagery contains a raw, gritty quality that evokes an emotional response from the viewer. “I loved taking pictures,” she recalls, “And occasionally, I got lucky.” Very lucky indeed.
S. Kay Young
S. Kay Young is a Native American Detroit based artist and art advocate with a 42 year photographic career. Young’ work resides in numerous private and corporate collections, including The Detroit Institute of Arts, The University of Michigan and Cobo Center in Detroit. From 1976 through 1981, she attended The College for Creative Studies of Arts and Design in Detroit where she studied the art of photography. From 1979 through 1989, Young was a photographer and Rights and Reproduction broker at The Detroit Institute of Arts. She has managed art galleries, both local and national, and has represented Special Needs Adults photographers/artists in exhibitions and private sales.
S. Kay teaches photography at Oakland Community College, Farmington Hills extended education, SHAC in Milford, MI and the Special Needs Community in the Greater Detroit area. She is a private tutor of photography and multi-media art to children and disabled adults.