A Detroit Photographer In Search Of A Human Touch

Aug 8, 2013

Portrait of Hakeem in his Detroit home
Credit Dave Jordano

Photographer Dave Jordano, a native of Detroit and long-time resident of Chicago, has returned to his hometown to make portraits of people who did not leave. In his online exhibit “Detroit Unbroken Down,” he passes up the grand spaces in ruin or crumbling homes that have become symbols of the Motor City, but focuses on the faces of the city.

“I really wanted to put a human element to the work,” Jordano says. “All this negative press was just eating away at me.”

Jordano’s portraits from Detroit reveal creativity and humanity. He tells guest host Sean Cole about Hakeem, who bought a rundown house and covers his walls with quotes and words of wisdom; Leonard, who mows abandoned lots in his neighborhood; Tom, who built himself a home the size of a dog house, lived there for years, and later built a cozy cabin from abandoned materials.

“He’s just a phenomenal character,” Jordano says. “He took a really bad situation and made something positive out of it.”

Also on The Story: an FBI investigator gives his theory of what happened to the union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared almost 40 years ago; and Charlie Rizzo shares the story of his lifelong journey with his father Matt Rizzo, who died in 1986 but remains a constant presence in Charlie's life.