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Detroit in photos: 30-day challenge

Last September, a friend suggested I embark on a 30-Day Photo Challenge. This followed the 30-Day Bikram Yoga Challenge I had just completed the month prior at Detroit Bikram in Troy. The idea was to take a month to focus intensely on a hobby, devote myself to it, and enjoy it.

As with the Bikram Challenge, I had to double up on a few days. Some days, I started work early and ended late, only seeing highways and darkness. Those days brought less inspiration. Some days were filled with adventures; colorful and unique. As with this blog, once you start looking at life’s experiences as potential material to capture via words or images, you notice a lot more, and your perspective begins to change. And sometimes images speak louder than words.

The cover photo was taken at Recycle Here!, a city-wide, fully-funded neighborhood recycling program in Detroit, whose Director of Operations, Matt Naimi, seems to have great taste in art.

Contemporary Living Lafayette Park

This was a photo I took at my friend’s condo in Lafayette Park. The co-op is a creation by architect, Mies van der Rohe, and a great stop on any trip intended to show visitors some of Detroit’s gems. I was sitting on the floor and appreciating the clean lines of the chair and bright art on the wall.

An Old Detroit Space Repurposed

One of the difficult things about a 30-Day Photo Challenge is carrying your camera to inconvenient places at inconvenient times. For instance…on a Friday night, checking out crowded openings, happenings and restaurants…until you catch a glimpse of something like this illuminated dancer on a cinder block wall.

Saffell Gardner Art

Sometimes, looking through a camera lens helps make performers on a stage appear as if they are right in front of you. Sometimes, looking through a camera lens makes you contemplate whether you’re missing the wonder of the moment. In this case, I simply wanted to stick a paint brush in artist, Saffell Gardner’s paints. I refrained.

Family Ties

And then there are times when you know you’re catching a moment of history. The unbelievably talented, Detroit-born bassist, Marion Hayden performed with her son (on drums) while her husband (Saffell Gardner) painted the abstract work you see (Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings Nightnotes performance) in the background of the photo. When Hayden’s mother stood to clap at the end, I snapped a photo of three generations of Detroit’s finest folks, and I was happy I had my lens.

Natalie Bruno
Natalie Bruno is the Director of Talent & Organizational Culture at Mango Languages, a business that enriches lives through language and culture, via cutting-edge language-learning software. Prior to this appointment, she was the Chief Operating Officer & Vice President for Development with Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, Eisenhower Dance, and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. In 2009, she launched Detroit Passport to the Arts with a group of young professionals and was named one of Crain’s Detroit Business 2010 “40 Under 40” honorees for her work in attracting audiences to cultural organizations. A native of Chicago, Natalie has made Metro Detroit her home since 2003. She remains active on the board of Detroit Passport to the Arts, and also serves on the board of Challenge Detroit. Follow her @NatalieBruno11.