Abandoned schools in Detroit - Jan Jörnmark

The pictures depict several abandoned schools in Detroit. The city’s population has declined by more than sixty percent since 1950. Making matters worse, the demand for education has fallen disproportionally.

It was the white middle class that first left, during the 1960s and 70s. The phenomenon became known as “white flight”, and one of the results was that the number of tax-payers declined disproportionally. The public sector started to disintegrate, and the quality of the education system was severely effected by the 1980s and 90s.

The results are catastrophic. Today almost half (47%) of Detroit’s population is classified as functionally illiterate, meaning that they have problems with “reading, speaking, writing and computational skills...”. The social infrastructure has broken down as the human and financial collapse intensified – several dozen schools are closed each year in the city. The situation for the remaining households is growing ever more desperate – half of the kids in the city live below the poverty line.

The overbearing story of the pictures is easy to understand. The city was one of the birth places for the industrial breakthroughs that were the foundations of the American Century. The ephemeral nature of human civilization’ is clearly brought out by the pictures.

TEXT and PHOTOS © Jan Jörnmark
Website www.jornmark.se

The Abyss by Jan Jörmark featured on 591 Photography 

Related reading about Detroit in Guernica magazine


megan thayer said…
Please look up some articles about Detroit and ruin porn. Guernicamag.com has a great one "detroitism" or just search ruin porn on the mag's sight.
thank you megan for mentioning that article. you beat me to it.
Jan Jörnmark said…
I've photographed hundreds of locations such as this in Europe, North America and Asia. Its probably the most pedagogic and graphic instrument that you can utilize if you want to communicate about the dynamics of modern capitalism and globalization.

Jan Jörnmark, Ph D Economic History.
Vale said…
Im totally in love with this images!!! Fantastic:)
Phil Decker said…
As an elementary school principal these images are really hard to see. These abandoned sad spaces used to be teeming with life, with hope, with children and their teachers. So many conversations, interactions, imaginings in those empty rooms.