Mr. Moore’s Detroit photos are largely devoid of people, giving them an eerie, postapocalyptic feel. Evidence charts from a murder investigation are among files strewn across a shuttered police station. Beakers and test tubes line the shelves of a chemistry lab in a former school, waiting for students who will never come. Birch saplings sprout from rotting textbooks at a school book depository. A vacant home is swallowed whole by foliage. Once-bustling neighborhoods dissolve into urban prairie.
Artistically they’re very important in the way that they combine the almost romantic sense of horror with beauty. That dissonance between the beauty and the sense of waste and destruction and decay leads you to really consider not just the situation of Detroit but to put them in a larger context of the rise and fall of civilizations, the relationship between human endeavors to build and nature’s ability to overwhelm and overcome.