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stephrhoades

Soul of Detroit

By Documentary

Soul of Detroit

More than just the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin embodied female empowerment, was a civil rights activist, a god-fearing woman and to many, Auntie ReRe.

She was — and always will be — the Soul of Detroit.

People from all over the world came to Detroit to celebrate Aretha Franklin’s life after her passing on August 16, 2018. For two weeks, the doors at New Bethel Baptist Church, her father’s church, would be blocked by signs, flowers and other mementos left by fans and loved ones.

For three days visitors to the Charles H. Wright Museum and New Bethel Baptist Church were allowed to pay final respects to the Queen of Soul, where she lay in her spectacular gold casket, dressed to the nines with more outfit changes than an award show host. The lines around each building wrapped for blocks, but people waiting in line were full of life and song as they waited their turn to walk past Ms. Franklin.

After her funeral, the procession of pink Cadillacs led the 1940 LaSalle hearse, which also transported her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, Rosa Parks and several other notable Detroiters to their final resting places. Aretha Franklin is entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, alongside her father and sisters,Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin.

Motor City Soul Club

By Documentary

Motor City Soul Club

The Motor City Soul Club was founded in April 2014 by Dan Austin and Brad Hales of Detroit’s People’s Records. Erica Aytes joined in 2016 to form the MCSC’s core Big Three. Their mission is to spread the amazing forgotten soul sounds of the 1960s and ’70s and honor the singers, musicians, producers and record labels who created them.

Motor City Soul Club

Every second Saturday, the music of The Supremes, Edwin Starr, The Marvelettes, Chris Clark and more soul legends, echo in the shadow of the original Motown headquarters.

Over the last few years, I have become an avid fan of what Motor City Soul Club and it’s monthly event series, Soul Stomp, bring to the city of Detroit. Far beyond the music, MCSC’s Soul Stomp brings together an eclectic group of individuals looking for a place to dance and listen to music that otherwise would have been forgotten if not for the selectors worldwide who spend their time digging in dusty crates and hunting down treasures.

Despite being the birthplace of Motown, Detroit’s dance and club culture focuses on House, Techno and Pop, somehow forgetting its roots. Many of the original artists have passed and to keep their memories alive, Motor City Soul Club honors them by playing their records. These are just a few photos of the once-a-month party at Detroit’s Marble Bar, where the MCSC selectors are joined by guests from all over the world, to play these incredible sounds for Detroiters.

Vote Bus

By Documentary

Vote Bus

Voter turnout in Detroit hasn’t been great. For what is maybe the most important part of our democracy there sure are a lot of issues in the way of getting to the polls.

From not having time off work, insufficient childcare options, lack of access to voter information resources or not having transportation to the polls there are too many barriers for folks in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck when it comes to being represented. No vote means no voice, which is bad.

Andy Didorsi’s Detroit Bus Company is working to solve the transportation issue for those who want to vote. On election day in 2018, they ran routes using their entire bus fleet and volunteers with their own cars to get Detroiters to their local polling place. It’s pretty ambitious, but big problems usually need big answers.

DBC and the volunteers served all of Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck in an effort to make sure that all Detroiters were being properly represented.

Detroit Bus Company

Detroit Dogs

By Documentary

Detroit Dogs

In a city that has been plagued with blight, corruption, bankruptcy and gentrification, Detroit’s city services often fall between the cracks, leaving residents to take matters into their own hands.

Detroit’s Animal Control services is understaffed, underpaid and lacks the resources it truly needs to handle the 139 square miles and the amount of animals within its limits. When Detroit’s city services fail the residents, they turn to other means of protection. For many Detroit citizens, dogs are more than a pet — they are property, protection and they are income. But what happens when people are unable to care for these dogs?

Each year, Detroit’s Animal Care and Control picks up thousands of stray dogs from the streets and deals with countless dogs being surrendered to their care each day. Many more dogs are killed or left for dead in alleys, basements and abandoned homes, traces of dog fighting or unwanted animals left to rot like pieces of trash.

These are just a few photos from my journey working with Detroit Dog Rescue, a nonprofit that is not funded by the city, but chooses to operate and help the City of Detroit and its citizens on a daily basis.

Warning: Some of the following photos contain graphic content.

Soul of Detroit

By Documentary, Photography
SOUL OF DETROIT

More than just the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin embodied female empowerment, was a civil rights activist, a god-fearing woman and to many, Auntie ReRe.

She was — and always will be — the Soul of Detroit.

People from all over the world came to Detroit to celebrate Aretha Franklin’s life after her passing on August 16, 2018. For two weeks, the doors at New Bethel Baptist Church, her father’s church, would be blocked by signs, flowers and other mementos left by fans and loved ones.

For three days visitors to the Charles H. Wright Museum and New Bethel Baptist Church were allowed to pay final respects to the Queen of Soul, where she lay in her spectacular gold casket, dressed to the nines with more outfit changes than an award show host. The lines around each building wrapped for blocks, but people waiting in line were full of life and song as they waited their turn to walk past Ms. Franklin.

After her funeral, the procession of pink Cadillacs led the 1940 LaSalle hearse, which also transported her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, Rosa Parks and several other notable Detroiters to their final resting places. Aretha Franklin is entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, alongside her father and sisters,Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin.

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March for Our Lives

By Photography
GRADES UP, GUNS DOWN

What will it take to change gun control laws? The nation’s youth. All over the world, March for Our Lives rallies were organized to bring awareness and an end to the epidemic of gun violence in our country.

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Three schools that have made headlines over decades in our nation. Columbine was not the first, but it was one of the first most notable and widely covered by media. Sandy Hook followed years later, one of the most tragic school shootings our nation has seen. Between the two of these, and after Sandy Hook, you would think our government would figure out a way to better regulate guns, to keep them out of the hands of those that would do harm. But six years after Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary school and killed 20 teachers and students, our nation was ripped apart by another shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Something about this shooting was different though. The teenagers that survived the Parkland shooting, had been alive for Sandy Hook. They have had enough, and the opportunity to change everything lies with them. Millions of teenagers will turn 18 by the midterm elections, and even more will be of voting age for the next presidential election. After hearing the voices today, we can only hope they continue their fight and make their voices heard at the polling booths.

We have lost countless numbers of lives to guns. When will enough be enough? When will our government listen to the people as our students try to get through a day of learning, without fearing a massacre? According to Everytown, on an average day, seven children or teens are killed by guns. We have the highest homicide rate from guns than any other developed nation, almost 25 times the average of other countries.

It’s time for change, it’s time to listen to the voices begging for help. The Detroit March for Our Lives rally brought thousands to the Riverfront. Let’s hope it brings thousands more to the polls.

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Detroit Love Story

By Photography
313 DAY

Every year on March 13, we celebrate the city we love.

This city, that has seen tremendous victories and failings, is still embraced by a people who hold it close to their hearts. From the grand facades of towering historic buildings to the stillness of Belle Isle and every corner of the more than 142 square miles, Detroit is a place to fall in love, and fall in love with.

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Female Strong

By Photography, Portraits
THE RECKONING

March marks Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day falling on March 8. But women across the globe are showing just how strong they are day-to-day.

After a year of women coming into their own, standing strong against a patriarchal society, and pushing for major changes in our system, we can only hope the movement keeps growing. But we cannot step back and let others fight the good fight. Continue making waves, teaching our sisters, daughters, nieces, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and even the men in our lives, that we will not sit still and look pretty. Now is the time to motivate, support and unite one another.

We have, for too long, been told we are inferior to our male counterparts. That we have to have sex appeal to get ahead in this world. We’ve been told to take the abuse, because a woman’s voice should never be louder than a whisper. Now is the time for screaming from the mountain tops and letting the world know we have something to say, and we refuse to be quieted.

The following photos document the women I call friends and family, as well as the strong women that I have met through my life. Each one has their own struggles, their own goals they are trying to meet, but each has given me a small glimpse into their strengths. Though they might not know it, they each have given me the strength to become the woman I am today.

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Artistic or Trashy?

By Personal

In the age of Harvey Weinstein, Trump, and an endless line of men (and women) being called out for sexual harassment and abuse, you would think the photo community would start covering up a bit more. But the need for likes, follows, social media stardom, has photographers stripping their models to bare all “for the gram”.

Trying to get through Instagram without seeing hard nipples poking out through a shirt, or a woman draped across old machinery in an abandoned warehouse, completely naked, is impossible. I have seen my fair share of beautifully executed artistic nudes, and there are people that still photograph this niche well. But, it has come to the point that photographers are doing it just to boost their popularity. There is no thought process into why this woman is nude in a particular spot, they are not technically outstanding photos (so many are out of focus!), and the posing is more often than not, completely lacking.

I have seen photos posted that are completely out of focus, that end up getting shared around to hubs, only because the model in the shot is naked. Yet, photos that are better quality, where the model is clothed, are left behind. Photos of a woman with her nipples visible through her shirt for no real reason, get comments like “this is fire!”, “that’s tasty”, and more absurdity. Enough is enough.

Talking with other female photographers and models in the community, it is hard to feel any love for this style of photography, especially from our male colleagues. When they post messages to their female models, almost claiming them as their own, and saying things like “Talk to me first before shooting with anyone else. There are real creeps out there who only want to see you naked.” There is so much frustration over these photographers, and their lack of understanding behind artistic nudes, and porn.

So how do we go about changing this view, where women’s bodies are used for likes and follows? We need to hold this community accountable, stop treating it as a way to get dates and see women (and men) nude, and force the start of change.