Tag Archives: featured

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 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.


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.

A clear view of Detroit – Detroit Portraiture

Portrait of a window washer - Detroit Portraiture
Detroit small business owner Jamal Wheeler

Jamal was working away in Greektown.  Going at his job with the determination of a heavy weight contender trying to strip the belt from the champ, when I first saw him.  Being a street photographer as well as a portrait photographer,  I rattled off a few shots of Jamal through the window before I decided that he would be a great subject for Detroit in Portraits.  I then approached Jamal and asked if we could do a few portraits and a quick interview.  He graciously agreed.

Portrait of a Detroit Entrepreneur - Detroit Portraiture
Detroit’s entrepreneurial spirit at work.

He went on to tell us “I am a small businessman.  I own a couple of businesses. So, I like the autonomy.  I like to be able to choose my destiny and hopefully, be able to supply and please the public at the same time.”  When asked about his favorite memory in Detroit, Jamal replied  “Getting married here and my kids being born here. As for strictly about the city? The resilience. Because there are a lot of reasons to give up, but even more to keep fighting.”  I am not a gambler, but if I were,  I would bet that Jamal will be an entrepreneurial champ in Detroit.

Why Yes, That is Roop Raj – Detroit Portraits

Today started off with meeting Fox 2 News roving reporter and news anchor Roop Raj in Downtown Detroit. Roop was kind enough to give us a few moments to take a couple of portraits and then allow us a quick interview.

Portrait of Roop Raj at Detroit in Portraits
Fox 2 News Reporter Roop Raj

When asked  what he likes to do in Detroit, Roop responded… “I love to be in Detroit. I love to work in Detroit and I love to tell the story of this comeback. Because, no place in the world are you seeing a city come back block by block. This is the only place in the world that it is happening. The only other place it happened before, in recent history, was New Orleans after Katrina. I was there for that. So, to come home to the place I grew up in Detroit and tell this great American comeback story has been exhilarating on the most mundane, daily basis. Every day there is something new and awesome happening.”


Portrait of Roop Raj of Fox 2 News - Detroit Portraiture
Roop Raj Posing for Detroit in Portraits

I must say that Roop was an extremely personable and well spoken gentleman. A true pleasure to meet and to interview. He really loved the idea of Detroit in Portraits and even joked that perhaps he should be interviewing us! Thanks Roop.


All photography provided and copyrighted by Tony Lafferty.
Prints are available in the store at: www.tonylafferty.com