Russ Marshall was three years old when he moved from a coal town to a car town– from South Fork, Pennsylvania to Detroit, where his father took a job on a Chrysler assembly line building DeSotos. Marshall was in his teens when he got hold of a Scout 120 box camera and began capturing the people around him and the place he lived. He’s 80 now, and 50 years of his most striking shots currently line the walls at the Detroit Institute of Arts. There was never a plan to turn his world into fine art.
“I just wanted to take interesting photos,” he says.
Running until June 27, 2021, the showcase’s full title is “Russ Marshall: Detroit Photographs, 1958–2008—An exhibition celebrating blue-collar workers throughout Southeast Michigan.” That banner of a name still doesn’t capture the suffuse magic in the more than 90 black-and-white photographs that DIA photography curator Nancy Barr spent two years working with Marshall to select.
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