From long-time residents who are preserving a southern blues music tradition to neighbors who share Middle Eastern cuisine, Framed by WDET is a photo book and multimedia exhibition that features the stories of communities who have a rich legacy in Detroit, but are often under- or misrepresented in the media and arts.
WDET (Detroit’s NPR affiliate) and local publication Grand Circus Magazine are partnering to publish a body of work that celebrates ten local communities through the storytelling and photography of 18 Detroit-based photographers and audio journalists.
 Sunday at The Carpet House: An award-winning feature about long-time residents who are preserving the “dirty” blues through a weekly grassroots music jam in Detroit– Amy Sacka & Laura Herberg, 2015
 Hummus Heartland: A collection of stories about Detroit’s ubiquitous Middle Eastern food culture– Marvin Shaouni & Zak Rosen, 2017
 Journey to Bubble Metropolis: Portraits and memories from contemporary underground dance communities in Detroit– Corine Vermeulen & Conor Anderson, 2017
 Beyond Balkanization: Voices of Balkan communities who have woven their cultural threads into the tapestry of southeast Michigan– Rob St. Mary & Doug Coombe, 2017
 The Sweet Science: Stories about strength and limitless possibility that feature the voices of the youth at Downtown Boxing Gym in Detroit– Cydni Elledge & Laura Weber-Davis, 2017
 Delray– Beyond Isolation: A look inside the daily life of normal people who are living in a small, isolated Detroit neighborhood that is experiencing change– Kenny Karpov & Laura Herberg, 2014
 Home on the Range: Images and personal narratives that explore family, responsibility, and human connection with the natural world– Sean Work & Shelby Jouppi, 2017
 Rolling Canvases: A celebration of automotive art and design from the lowrider community in Southwest Detroit– Erik Paul Howard & Martina Guzmán, 2016
 The Dress Show: A window into Hamtramck’s Bangladeshi community through the lens of its (many) cultural dress shop owners– Kenny Karpov & Courtney Hurtt, 2014
 Hair Capital of the World: Memorable moments and images from Detroit’s hair legacy and creative culture– Justin Milhouse & Shannon Cason, 2016
Highlighting authentic stories from Detroit
Going beyond the lens of decay and revitalization, Framed by WDET offers a balanced perspective to the mainstream media’s common narrative about Detroit.
It explores what is truly beautiful and worthwhile about living in Detroit: the moments and spaces that we share with one another.
Here are some things we want to achieve through this project:
- Lift community voices from Detroit that often go unheard in popular media
- Highlight the work of Detroit-based photographers, audio storytellers, and journalists
- Preserve the stories of deeply rooted communities who have contributed to the cultural vibrancy of our rapidly changing city
And we’re not alone– meet our partner, Grand Circus Magazine
We’re excited to be working with Grand Circus Magazine, a Detroit-based publication that presents the work and contributions of local talent through writings, illustrations, and photo essays about the arts, architecture, music, and urbanism of Detroit.
Their limited-run (and always sold-out) publication is only released twice a year. For backers, this project is another opportunity to support and expand the reach of both Grand Circus Magazine and Framed by WDET.
It takes a village– produced by a community of artists, collaborators, and local residents
WDET intentionally partnered with photographers, audio journalists and partners who are already members of, or had close relationships with, local residents and communities. This intention has resulted in a body of work that is just as meaningful as it is beautiful.
[Photographers] Amy Sacka, Corine Vermeulen, Cydni Elledge, Doug Coombe, Erik Paul Howard, Justin Milhouse, Kenny Karpov, Marvin Shaouni and Sean Work
[Audio journalists and storytellers] Conor Anderson, Courtney Hurtt, Laura Herberg, Laura Weber-Davis, Martina Guzmán, Rob St. Mary, Shannon Cason, Shelby Jouppi and Zak Rosen
[Key Partners & Supporters] Grand Circus Magazine, Documenting Detroit, Other Studio, and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Four years in the making
Since 2014, WDET has worked with local photographers and audio journalists to present authentic stories about their own communities and neighbors through a series of radio stories and multimedia installations across the region.
With your support, we will combine–for the first time ever–this collection of work into a dynamic photo book and gallery exhibition to reach more people in Detroit (and beyond).
As separate community exhibitions, Framed by WDET stories have been presented in more than 20 art spaces in metro Detroit and beyond. It has been experienced by more than 4,500 people throughout southeast Michigan, and was seen by thousands of visitors in the Michigan House at SXSW (2016) and at Photoville in Brooklyn, NY (2017).
This collection of local artwork features more than 160 printed photographs and documents the voices of nearly 100 local residents within 45 audio stories.
...Made possible with your support
With backer support, we are able to illustrate the value of inclusive media and art initiatives.
Every dollar you give will be MATCHED the James L. and John S. Knight Foundation (up to $23k)– allowing us to produce a multimedia exhibition of Framed by WDET in Detroit this fall!
What's in our budget? This Kickstarter will fund the activities required to produce the Framed by WDET photo book. Our budget includes:
- Writers for the book’s forward and poems
- Book design and layout via Other Studio and Grand Circus
- Printing, distribution, and shipping
Produced in partnership with Grand Circus Magazine, the limited edition photo book will feature more than 160 photos interlaced with short vignettes and quotes from community members. Each chapter is truly unique, presenting facets of Detroit that often go unseen in the popular media.
- Photo book included in rewards $35 or more
- Signed copies of the book included in rewards $400 or more
Name printed in book as project backer in rewards $10 or more
In the fall, WDET will present an audio-visual exhibition that will feature printed images and audio stories from the series. At an exclusive preview event, early supporters will have an opportunity to meet exhibition curators and artists while being one of the first to view the entire body of work in-person.
- Tickets to preview event included in rewards $250 or more (limited quantity)
- Early invitation to public exhibition opening included in rewards $10 or more
Receive a set of 10 envelopes and note cards, each with a different image from the “Framed by WDET” series. They are a great way to share a bit of Detroit with friends and relatives.
- Note card set included in rewards $55 or more
- Receive two sets at reward levels $100 and $1,000 or more
Schedule a time to receive a personalized tour of the exhibition by project curators. You and a guest will get a first look at the exhibition and learn the story ‘behind the stories’ in an intimate setting.
- Schedule a personalized tour of the exhibition with rewards $1,000 or more (10 available)
Be a part of the creative process and meet with the series curators to review of the book. We’ll set up a time to meet with you and a guest to hear your feedback on photo book renderings before they head to print.
In addition to a pair of tickets to the exhibition preview event, you’ll also receive two signed copies which will include a special thanks as a creative contributor who helped us put it together.
- Invitation to photo book review session with WDET’s team of creative producers at $2,500 reward level (limited quantity)
- Special thanks in photo book as creative contributor at $2,500 reward level (limited quantity)
Risks and challenges
WDET began partnering with photographers and storytellers in 2014. Thanks to our past supporters– the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and individual supporters – we were able to hire artists to capture and produce this work.
Because much of the “Framed by WDET” content has already been captured, our process of producing a photo book and exhibition is easier than most. Our biggest risk is around logistics: the printing, production and timing of the photo book. We intend to have the book completed by October 1, 2018–just in time for the fall gallery exhibition event. However, photo books take hard work to produce and can be expensive.
We will be sure to notify all backers of any delays in advance. Thankfully, we have done extensive research on our potential costs and the production schedule. By relying on the expertise of Grand Circus Magazine, we are confident that we can deliver the photo book to our backers at this affordable price and in time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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