My name is Noah Stephens. I am a native-Detroiter, photographer, essayist, and founder of The People of Detroit Photodocumentary. I started TPOD in April 2010 as a counter point to national and global media fixated on everything gone wrong in the storied home of American auto manufacturing. Even amid the city's post-industrial turmoil, I consistently met industrious, interesting, progressively-minded people in my everyday life as a Detroiter. I created TPOD to give these people a place in the media conversation about Detroit. In doing so, I hoped TPOD would inspire Detroit-focused investment and residency.
Since it's inception, the project has receive a bit of attention. Portraits from the project have appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek and Fast Company. This year, the project received a grant from CEOs for Cities and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Last year, a creative director in China saw the project online and hired me to photograph an eight-portrait ad campaign for McDonald's Corporation in Shanghai.
The Food Desert: Food Availability in Cities is an extension of TPOD. The mission of The Food Desert is to photograph every grocery store in the city of Detroit, the produce selection therein, at least one patron of each store, and the path that patron takes to get to the store. In doing so, this project will create an unprecedented visual survey of the food landscape in a post-industrial city commonly regarded as a food desert.
This visual survey will explore diet in urban communities and that diet's relationship to chronic illness in those communities. This exploration will inform public policy and cause people to think more thoroughly about the affect diet has on long-term health.
Click HERE to contribute to 'The Food Desert: Food Availability in Cities' Kickstarter Project!
Click HERE to check out Noah's 'People of Detroit' website!