Framing the Portrait of a City



Grand Circus Magazine and WDET—Detroit’s N.P.R. affiliate—have partnered on publishing a body of work that celebrates ten local communities through the storytelling and photography of 18 Detroit-based photographers and audio journalists.

From long-time residents who are preserving a Southern blues tradition to neighbors sharing the cuisine of their homeland, Framed 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.

Going beyond the lens of decay and revitalization, Framed 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.

The transformation of the project from a series of audio stories and photo journalism into a gallery exhibition, neighborhood installations, and into it’s final form—a limited edition print publication—has been a tremendous editorial exercise.

Collateral from the  Framed  exhibition material. Imagery provided by  OTHER Studio

Collateral from the Framed exhibition material. Imagery provided by OTHER Studio

Framed features 10 communities through the voices of 100 Detroiters:

1. 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 on the Eastside of Detroit — Amy Sacka & Laura Herberg, 2015

2. Hummus Heartland: A collection of stories about Detroit’s ubiquitous Middle Eastern food culture — Marvin Shaouni & Zak Rosen, 2017

3. Journey to Bubble Metropolis: Portraits and memories from contemporary underground dance communities in Detroit — Corine Vermeulen & Conor Anderson, 2017

4. Beyond Balkanization: Voices of Balkan communities who have woven their cultural threads into the tapestry of Southeast Michigan — Rob St. Mary & Doug Coombe, 2017

5. The Sweet Science: Stories about strength and limitless possibility that feature the voices of the youth at the Downtown Boxing Gym — Cydni Elledge & Laura Weber-Davis, 2017

6. Delray: Beyond Isolation: A look inside the daily life of normal people who are living in a small, isolated Southwest neighborhood that is experiencing a massive change — Kenny Karpov & Laura Herberg, 2014

7. Home on the Range: Images and personal narratives that explore family, responsibility, and human connection with the natural world — Sean Work & Shelby Jouppi, 2017

8. Rolling Canvases: A celebration of automotive art and design from the lowrider community in Southwest Detroit — Erik Paul Howard & Martina Guzmán, 2016

9. The Dress Show: A window into Hamtramck’s Bangladeshi community through the lens of its cultural dress shop owners — Kenny Karpov & Courtney Hurtt, 2014

10. Hair Capital of the World: Memorable moments and images from Detroit’s hair legacy and barbershop culture — Justin Milhouse & Shannon Cason, 2016

WDET intentionally partnered with photographers, audio journalists, and partners who are already members of these local 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 & 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

Framed  is a photobook documenting ten of Detroit’s underrepresented communities

Framed is a photobook documenting ten of Detroit’s underrepresented communities


Framed will be available Spring 2019.

WDET is an authentic voice of Detroit. They serve an engaged, diverse, and curious audience through trusted news, inclusive conversations, and cultural experiences that empower our community to move forward.