Tag Archives: detroit portraits

Detroit Murals in Eastern Market – Murals in the Market

Detroit Murals are World Class Works of Art.

Hebru Brantley creates beautiful Detroit Murals
Chicago artist Hebru Brantley says “Hello” to his Detroit fans.

Detroit murals are known as some of the best street art in the world.  Recently,  45 world-class local and international artists were invited to come and paint large-scale murals throughout the Eastern Market district.  Murals in the Market was a fantastic event to watch unfold.  It brought many talented artists to the city and created some phenomenal murals for Detroit and all of the world to enjoy.  I love to see these kinds of events going on in our city.  They put the world’s eyes on Detroit and Show the city in such a positive and creative way.

One of the  Detroit Murals that caught my eye most, was that of Chicago native and artist Hebru Brantley.  One immediately notices that Hebru is an imposing guy when standing next to him.  I stand six foot tall and had to look up to converse with him.  He is a big guy with a big easy going way about him.  You find yourself immediately talking to Hebru as if you have known him your whole life.

Hebru Bantley paints Detroit Murals
Hebru Brantley was a detroiter, if only for the week. Thanks Hebru!

Hebru told us that what compels him about this type of art is “It’s part of the culture.  It’s just street art and to be able to present your artwork on a much grander scale than gallery work or museum work.”  It should be noted that the artists creating these Detroit murals were not paid for their efforts.  To that point, Hebru says: “It’s absolutely a labor of love”

When asked how long he has been doing this, Hebru replied “Well, I’ve been painting my whole life.  Doing street art since I was about fourteen.  Sort of traditional graffiti culture which has evolved into what you see here now.”

Hebru Brantley Portrait in Detroit
Thank you Hebru, for your kind gift to our beloved Detroit.

As to what the mural Hebru so graciously gave to the city of Detroit represents, he said “Everything I do is a narrative.  So, these are characters that I have used in repetition.  I always use these particular characters when I do street works or public works.  Yeah, there is a narrative in it always.  The characters are obviously looking and pointing in one direction.  And in that way are informing the viewer or audience that they are viewing something or that something has captivated their attention.  I think that from there it is sort of left up to the interpretation of the viewer to determine what that is and what that could be.”

Hebru’s final thoughts on street art and Graffiti “I think that it has already evolved from the late seventies and early eighties to what it is now.  This more diverse form of public expression and I just think it will continue to grow.  I think that communities around the world are embracing it.  Some slower than others, but I think that with all things when artists come into the area and help with the beautification of it,  it brings the people.  It brings the community.  It revitalizes the community.”

I couldn’t agree more Hebru!  Thank you for visiting and sharing your love so unselfishly with Detroit.  And thank you for talking to Detroit in Portraits!

Detroit Industrial Gallery with Tim Burke – Detroit Portraiture

Detroit Industrial Gallery is Detroit Art, Tim Burke style!

Detroit Industrial Gallery founder Tim Burke by Detroit Portraiture
What is old, is new at Detroit Industrial Gallery

Dig This! Nestled in the center of The Heidelberg Project is Detroit Industrial Gallery. At first one might think it was a part of the Heidelberg Project, but make no mistake, Detroit Industrial Gallery is a stand alone art gallery. The brain child of Detroit street artist and sculptor Tim Burke, Detroit Industrial Gallery is easily identifiable among the other art in the area by the bright yellow house that the gallery resides in and around.

Tim Burke by Detroit Portraiture
Detroit Industrial Gallery founder and artist poses with one of his creative sculptures

The art is mainly sculptures created using found objects, many with historical Detroit ties. Burke describes his artistic style as “Modern Art. Some people call it Outsider Art, because I haven’t been to art school. I had two guys standing here looking at these burnt timbers about six years ago and one guy says “They don’t teach that at Pratt!” I said, What’s Pratt? He said “It’s where we teach. Just one of the most prestigious art schools in the nation, located in New York.” So, I’m going to let others talk about my work and hone in on that. Like, I have professors from Pratt saying “They don’t teach you that in Pratt.” In other words, this is something innate for me and it’s from my feeling nature and just doing it. And so, I said I wish I had gone to Pratt and they said “No! With what you have going here, going to school would have ruined it. You wouldn’t have been able to do what you do. Keep doing what you do!”

Detroit Industrial Gallery by Tony Lafferty
Sculptor and fellow Detroiter Tim Burke

When asked how he thinks Detroit art stacks up to the rest of the world’s art, Tim said “Wow! We have a lot of great artists here.  In regards to street art, we are at the top of that here in Detroit. I don’t know about graffiti. I haven’t been to New York to see their graffiti. Or I haven’t checked out graffiti in the other states. I have checked out the fine arts and modern arts in museums, but not on the street. So, I would be biased to say, ours is the coolest or the best so far. And it’s growing as well.”

Since Tim brought up graffiti, I thought it fitting to ask his take on the often controversial art form. Tim replied “If it’s good graffiti? Yes. If it’s bullshit graffiti, tagging my initials, opinion, or tagging wars and such…that’s bullshit! I am totally against just going up and tagging up a building someone else owns!

For recommendations on places to see some cool Detroit art, with a chuckle Tim says “Other than my own? I really like Dabls’ African Bead Gallery and the DIA.”

Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions and letting me take your portrait Tim.  Glad that you are a Detroiter through and through.


Detroit Pets? Pet Lovers, Love Detroit! – Detroit Portraits

Detroit Pets – The city is going to the dogs…and the cats…and the…


Pet Portraits Detroit by Tony Lafferty at Detroit In Portraits
Lauren Crocker – Detroiter, Pet lover and host of The LC Show on Nash FM 93.1 Detroit

Well, you get the idea.  Detroiters are also big pet lovers.  Pets of all kinds.  From dogs to lizards, Detroit pets cover a wide range of animals and their pet loving Detroit masters.  No Room for a dog in the city you say?  Meet Lauren and Michael and their two, big, beautiful Detroit loving Bulldogs!  I happened along the couple and their Detroit pets in Capitol Park.  An awesome place in Detroit to spend time with your pet.  What is Lauren and Michaels fondest memory of Detroit?  Lauren says “Well, we just moved here a year ago.  So, this whole past year.  Just getting to know the city and being here through all the changes is pretty cool.”  Michael added ” Yeah. We lived in New York a long time.  Most of our lives actually.  She is from Massachusetts originally, but we lived in the city and moved here.  It is a nice break from New York.  New York is so fast paced and everything.  And it’s cool that everyone we talked to said this is the time to be in Detroit because it is a burgeoning and flourishing city right now with a lot of things going on.  So we are happy.  We wanted to live downtown.  We didn’t want to live in the suburbs.  We wanted to be downtown to see what it’s about. To actually be in Detroit!”

Portraits of Detroit Pets at Detroit In Portraits
Michael Stets Steczkowski – Detroiter, Bulldog owner and host at SiriusXM Radio

Lauren and Michael’s favorite place in Detroit?  Lauren replied ” We have a lot.  I go to the riverfront a lot.”  Michael said “We definitely like Slow’s Barbecue a lot.  We love hanging out in Campus Martius.  I’m a big movie buff, so to have a places like the Redford theater that screens old school movies on film.  Stuff like that is super exciting to be a part of.  I love that kind of stuff.”

Lauren thought for a moment when asked to tell me a secret about herself, but then proudly announced “Yeah, I can go through a whole box of Cheez-Its in one (Television) show!”  Yeah, well Lauren, I think we all do that!  Thanks for sharing though.

Lauren describes her style as “I would say laid back.  Kind of Urban Casual.  Does that even exist?”  As for describing his style, Michael said “I would probably be an aging Hipster.  I don’t take myself to serious and I like to have a good time.  I’m a big kid at heart.”

It was really fun to meet and talk with these super Detroiters and their wonderful Detroit Pets.  This is the real Detroit, lots of great folks enjoying life and opening their hearts and minds.  For those of you living in Detroit with your Detroit pets, check out 3 Dogs 1 Cat 4 Detroit in Eastern Market for all of your pet supplies. Really great Detroiters and people there.  Be sure to say hello to one of my favorite Detroit pets Elroy, when you visit.

Town Pump Tavern – Detroit. A Great Way to Cool Off – Detroit Portraiture

The Town Pump Tavern, serving up great food, drinks and fun in Detroit.


Portrait of Town Pump bartender Lindsay by Detroit Portraiture
Town Pump Tavern refreshing drink aficionado and fellow Detroiter Lindsay

It was a hot day. The heat lifted off the pavement in waves as I walked the city streets.  The Park Avenue Hotel was set to be imploded the following day to make way for the Ilitch family’s latest investment in the city of Detroit, the new Red Wings Stadium District.  Due to previous commitments I would not be able to be present at the implosion.  So, I had set out to shoot some ground level images of the Park Avenue Hotel before she was just a distant memory.  It didn’t take long to work up a thirst in the heat, so I stopped into The Town Pump Tavern to wet my parched throat.  As watering holes go, the Town Pump Tavern is on the upscale side.  A very pleasant Detroit tavern with a warm, rich feel to the décor and a very welcoming and unpretentious atmosphere.  This is the kind of establishment that makes Detroit such a great city and a great place to spend a hot afternoon.


Portrait of Lindsay, bartender at Town Pump Tavern in Detroit
Super Detroiter Lindsay B.

Bartender Lindsay was quick with a cold drink, great conversation and a beautiful smile.  As we chatted, I asked Lindsay if she would mind doing a quick interview and a few portraits for Detroit in Portraits and she graciously agreed.  My first question was, What do you love about Detroit?  Lindsay said  “I like that it is not pretentious and everyone who is here, is here because they want to be.  Also, you have a Underdog mentality here.  It’s not like going to Chicago or New York where people have this overly high opinion of their city.  We know that Detroit is a work in progress and there’s just an interesting…we’re all in this together mentality.”   I then asked Lindsay what her favorite place in Detroit would be?   Lindsay replied, “Obviously the Riverfront. I really enjoy that.  Jacoby’s is a really cool one-hundred year old bar in the city.  It’s just a kind of fun little hole in the wall where you can feel the history around you while you are in it.  It hasn’t changed much since it was built in nineteen-hundred.  So that is cool.  And being in Campus Martius in the center of the city.  Seeing how it is growing.  It is a really fun place to be.”  Thanks for being a Detroiter we can be proud of Lindsay!

Click here for more Town Pump Tavern info.


Detroit Riverwalk is the place to be this Summer – Detroit Portraits

Detroit Riverwalk – This place is alive with bustling Detroiters doing their thing.


Portrait of handstand fun on The Detroit RiverwalkIt was a beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday when I met Alexandra and her friends Diego and Josue on the Detroit Riverwalk.  As you can see by the picture to the left, they were enjoying the waterscape behind the Renaissance Center.  Josue was showing off his incredible balancing skills and was a big hit with the kids there.  The children quickly surrounded Josue and began to try and mimic him.  Josue continued to entertain and work with the children on their handstand skills.  So, I quickly interviewed Alexandria and Diego.  First, I asked about her favorite  memory of Detroit?  Alexandria replied; “The Cinco De Mayo Parade in Southwest Detroit.  Oh man!  Like I remember going to that when I was a kid all the time.  It represents the Hispanic culture so much.”  Diego conferred by simply answering, “The same.”

As for what Alexandria would like to tell the world about Detroit?  “It is such a beautiful place and people just don’t know that.  It is so Artsy now too!”  Alexandria, bashfully informed Detroit In Portraits of this little know fact about herself… “I know how to Juggle!”

The Detroit Riverwalk is really a beautiful asset for the city and people of Detroit.  The atmosphere is light and the amenities are plentiful.  From waterscapes to the beautiful, picturesque views of passing freighters, The Detroit Riverwalk  delivers to Detroiters of all ages. You really should check it out for yourself, if you have not done so already.  Alexandria made a very astute observation in the fact that Detroit has become a bit of  a mecca for the arts. While there are far too many to list here, a few of my favorite things and/ or places to see great art in Detroit are The Tangent Gallery, The 555 Gallery and, of course, the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit Portraiture – Fun in the Alley.

Detroit portraiture can be accomplished anywhere in Detroit.

Detroit Portraiture - Tanisha
Fabulous Detroiter Tanisha

Portraiture is my favorite type of photography because I find people so darn interesting.  I love to meet and talk to people on a daily basis. It can really be an eye opening experience.  When I think of Detroit Portraiture, I think of Detroit as one of the 20 largest cities in the nation with an unlimited number of locations and subjects.  On this particular day I ran into these two beautiful Detroiters, Theresa and Tanisha.  When asked her favorite memory of Detroit, Tanisha replied “My fondest memory is the people of Detroit.  I love the people and we come from all aspects of life.  We come from the rich and the poor.  From black and white and it’s lovely.”

Detroit Portraiture with Theresa in a popular alley
Super Detroiter, Theresa.

I asked Theresa what she would like to say to her fellow Detroiters, and soon to be subjects of my Detroit Portraiture series, she said “Keep working hard because we’re going to make it! We’re going to make this city better. It’s going to be…I just think it is going to be even better. Detroit is on the rise and it’s getting better and better.”  What is Theresa’s passion in life? “I want to become a doctor, so that’s my passion.”  As for where she sees herself in five years? “In medical school, of course!” followed by a chucle.

Detroit Portraiture - Portrait of John in a popular Detroit alley
Lady’s Man and all around awesome Detroiter… John.

As I thanked the ladies and started my way out of the alley,  John asked if he could get in on the fun.  That’s just how the people of Detroit are.  They want to experience everything and have no hesitation to jump in with both feet.  I asked John to describe to me what he thought his style was.  “My style?  I’m a real smooth, cool type of guy, you know?  Yeah, I get along with everybody.  I love people.  I’m very interested in people… definitely in people, but definitely women!”  All I have to say is spread the love John, spread the love.


Are you interested in taking portraits yourself?  Try www.detroitphotographytraining.com  There is no faster or more fun way to learn photography.

Brian Day – On the Street with Detroit In Portraits

Talking all things Detroit with Street and Fine Art Photographer Brian Day.

This is a really special post for me to write.  Brian Day is not only a fellow photographer, but also a very dear friend.  I ran into Brian last week.  We were both doing our thing when we looked up and saw each other.  Instant smiles, hand shakes and hugs followed.  We caught up quickly and the conversation inevitably turned to all of the changes going on in Detroit.   The metamorphosis going on is incredible.

Portrait of Brian Day - Detroit Fine Art Photographer
Brian Day – Detroit Fine Art Photographer

Being the honest, humble and selfless person that he is, Brian agreed to an interview for Detroit in Portraits.  On his fondest memory of Detroit, Brian said ” My fondest memory of Detroit is going to Boblo with my parents, as a child, and riding the Boblo Boat home at the end of the day.  Listening to the Dj with the skyline in the background and hanging out with my family.”

As for a favorite place in Detroit, Brian says “You can’t beat Belle Isle for the view and the relaxing atmosphere,”  The “Big Thing” going on in Brian’s life at the moment?  “The big thing in my life is just looking after my family, you know? . As my parents are getting a little older,  being there for my sister and her family and of course, being there for my wife. Being a good husband.”   Opening up his heart to the people of Detroit, Brian shared this little known fact about himself with Detroit in Portraits; “Yeah. So in 2001 my sister was diagnosed with leukemia and she and I did a stem cell test.   We found out that I was a 100% match for her to donate my stem cells.  So I did that in late 2001, donated my stem cells for transplant, and she has been healthy and happy.  She now has three kids, is married and is a good mother.”

Portrait of Brian Day - Detroit Street Photographer at Detroit in Portraits
Brian Day, Detroit Street Photographer, workin’ it!

As a photographer, I couldn’t help but ask Brian his favorite part of being a photographer in Detroit?  “The Detroit story…”  I felt the need to interrupt my good friend and let him know that I was expecting him to say shooting with Tony Lafferty!  With a chuckle, Brian continued  “Well, Tony Lafferty is part of the Detroit Story, of course, hahaha.  But Detroit’s is evolving in real time, you know?  The history books are being written faster here than I think they have ever been written before.  Because the city has gone from being at like, the lowest of the low, in ten years to now being one of the most re-emerging, vibrant, growing cities in the nation.  And a lot of people still don’t know that!  And so it is fascinating for me having been born and raised here.  You know, as a photographer you get kind of bored with your own hometown.  But things are changing so much that  every time you go around a corner now, there is something that wasn’t there last week, because there’s new stuff coming up.  So, Detroit is like there are so many blank pages, still waiting to be written.”

Thanks for all you do for the city, the love you bring to it and for being such an awesome Detroiter Brian.

Tiger Spirit in Detroit – Detroit Portraiture

Portrait of a Tiger baseball Fan - Detroit Portraiture
This Detroit fan knows how to roar!

We met Katrice out front of Comerica Park.  This girl was a ball of uncontainable energy, full life and smiles.  We asked her what her passion in life was and how it related to Detroit. Katrice replied: “Fitness! I worked here for nine years and that got me involved with fitness.  I used to run the River Walk. I  would workout in the gym and outside.  That inspired me to get into fitness and become a fitness instructor.”

Portrait of a Tiger Fan - Detroit Portraiture
Comerica Park is favorite place for many Tigers baseball fans.

Katrice also shared this unknown fact about herself with Detroit in Portraits… “I actually did a flash mob in the park to a Kid Rock song!”  When asked if she could say anything to the world, what would she say?  Katrice excitedly, blurted;  “I love you Vinny!”  For those of you wondering, Vinny is Katrice’s son. Thanks for being so much fun Katrice.

Bike Detroit – Detroit Portraits

Portrait of bike rentals in Detroit Portraits
Derek from Wheel House Detroit Public Bicycle Rental

Meet Derek.  He works for Wheel House Detroit and rents bikes downtown at Campus Martius.  He not only rents bikes, but lives the biking lifestyle.  When asked if he was a cyclist himself, Derek replied; “Yeah. I bike everywhere!”  As for the biggest cycling adventure to date? Derek says;  “I usually ride about 25 miles a day now. I haven’t done anything to adventurous yet. One guy I know of was doing the whole outline of North America. Yeah, I’m not into that yet. I’ve only been into riding about two years now, but I’m really enjoying it.”

Portrait of Detroit skyline Tattoo - Detroit Portraits
Proud Detroiter.

Another thing I noticed about Derek was his tattoo of the Detroit skyline.  That says hardcore Detroiter, if anything ever did.  Detroit is not only in his blood, but he carries it with him wherever he goes and proudly displays that he is a true Detroiter.

Basketball Star at Campus Martius – Detroit Portraiture

Portrait of a Basketball jump shot in Detroit - Detroit Portraiture
Daquan laying one up in Campus Martius

Meet Daquan.  He is short on words, being the quiet type.  But he is not short on basketball skills to say the least!  Did he make the basket behind his back?  Well, maybe you will have to look for him yourself when you are in the Campus Martius area and have him show you in person.   When asked his favorite memory in Detroit, Daquan replied, “Going to my first Lions game.”   When prodded for a bit more on being a sports fan he said, “I like baseball and soccer, but basketball just sticks with me!”

Portrait of a Basketball Superstar - Detroit Portraiture
Campus Martius Basketball Superstar Daquan

Though Daquan doesn’t claim to have mad skills with words, like he does on the court, he has a huge message and a lesson for us all to learn from. When asked if he could say anything to all the people of the world, what would he say? Daquan simply said “Thank you!”  Humble, thankful, polite, easy going and an awesome basketball superstar! Thank you Daquan!