Can Ypsilanti be conveyed in just 365 photos?

Mark Maynard 2009 at Ypsi's Corner Brewery

I met up with an EMU student at the Corner Brewery last night, during the Super Bowl. Her name is Erica Hampton, and we have a friend in common. He suggested that we meet to discuss her current project, which involves taking a photo every day that she remains here in Ypsilanti. Anyway, I was the subject of last night’s shoot… So far, she’s hit Abe’s Coney Island, the Fire Station, VG Kids, and the Public Library. And, in the process, she’s gotten some really nice photos of Paul stocking the shelves at The Rocket, a guy delivering food from Aubree’s, and a number of just regular folks going about their business. It’s an interesting project, and it got me thinking about what I’d shoot if I really wanted to convey the spirit of Ypsilanti in all of its beautiful, complicated, messy glory. I’ve got a bunch of ideas, and I’m sure you must too. Here are a few of the first things to pop into my head.

• Ypsilanti businessman Steve Pierce as he makes his nightly rounds upon his trusty Segway.

• Young entrepreneurs selling their wares at the Downtown Farmers Market.

• Women congregating in one of the many Michigan Avenue hair braiding establishments.

• Folks making tamales at Dos Hermanos.

• Big Bad D.

• Local historian James Mann conducting research in the City’s Historical Archives.

• The folks at the Dreamland Theater rubbing salve into their chapped hands after 24 consecutive hours of puppetry.

• Men fishing for dinner in the park.

• Mayor Schreiber, with headphones on, listening to his son’s song, The Booty Don’t Stop.

I should add that I asked Erica before posting this. I didn’t want to throw out ideas if they were going to somehow interfere with her vision of the project. She thought it would be useful, though. So, with that in mind, if you have any ideas for shots, leave a comment.

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  1. Old Goat
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Looking down the barrow of the Prospect Park Cannon at the little house on the five-point.

  2. dragon
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    John Norman Collins’ apartment.
    “A body found yesterday afternoon on a Superior Township farm was tentatively identified as that of a 19-year-old Eastern Michigan University coed who disappeared without a trace July 9.”

  3. Posted February 2, 2009 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    And, here, for those of you unacquainted with Big Bad D, is a link.

  4. Ol' E Cross
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Mark Maynard … right up there with the public library.

  5. Paw
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I know that there’s more to Ypsi than the poverty and the prostitution, and I wouldn’t want anyone doing such a project to ignore the culture and the other good stuff, to focus solely on that, but, at the same time, I wouldn’t want to sugarcoat the reality. For that reason, I’d be sure to include the men waiting outside for bars to open, the women working Michigan Avenue, and the people selling blood plasma. These are things that should be recorded somehow.

  6. Kren
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    The Bomber on a Sunday morning.
    The veterans groups massing for the Memorial Day parade.
    Band on stage at the Elbow Room.
    The man that walks around town with the dog around his neck.

  7. Posted February 3, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    You all are brilliant. Thanks so much for the ideas, I’ll get working on them!!

  8. Kurt A
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    A photo of Emily the nice lady who can never seem to keep gas in her van.

  9. Posted February 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Bike Ypsi — rides every Sunday from Rec Park, 1:00pm. The big day with a hundred plus community folks on bikes will be May 3.

  10. the injector
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    the huron river at multiple points throughout ypsi. waterworks park. the various community gardens throughout ypsi–west middle, rec park, midtown, perry elementary, frog island, etc. brandy’s party store outside and inside. the new bike racks throughout mi ave downtown. haabs happy hour on a friday night.
    oh so much more.
    oh ypsi.

  11. Timmothy Bottoms
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    The location of the house where Elijah McCoy was raised, which, I believe, served as a stop on the underground railroad.

    Preston Tucker’s garage.

  12. Posted February 3, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Is that woman’s name Emily? She’s great. Sometimes in the summer she’ll ask me for gas money two or three days in a row when I’m outside working in my yard.

    And, as for pictures, there are a number of people in the City who are probably deserving of portraits, starting with the members of the City Council and the folks who attend their meetings to air their grievances. I’d also suggest the folks at the Corner Health Service and all of our other great local non-profits. And each of the restaurants probably deserve representation. Those things alone should fill up a few months. The best shots, however, are probably the random ones that aren’t planned out.

  13. taffnerd
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    The guy who keeps goats in his backyard. And the goats.

  14. amused1
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Photo ideas: the train passing through town, the rubber duck race, a flowering weed growing the the cracked pavement of the Motor Wheel property, the S&H Green Stamp mansion on River St. (aka High/Scope), the bakers at Dom Bakery making donuts before dawn, broken glass glittering on the street, the Eclesia (0r however it’s spelled) building with the for sale sign in front, the cemetery on River St., the old weir on the Huron River, the crazy Liberty Tax waver on MI Ave., panhandlers on the I-94 ramps, kids gardening at the Senior Center and the shuffle board game when the Tap Room Annex reopens.

  15. Ol' E Cross
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Erica, it’s a great project, and I think you’re doing excellent work with your initial photos. Nice filler, for slow days, might be people in and in front of their homes/apartments. Shoveling. Mowing. Tending. Sitting. We have such a great mix of people and places…

  16. Mark
    Posted February 8, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I was at the downtown library yesterday morning and I was thinking that a photo of all the kids using the computers there would make a good photo. It was beautiful outside, and yet all the computers in the basement were filled with kids.

    I may be wrong, but my assumption is that they don’t have internet access at home.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Get photographed, and do some good in Ypsilanti on August 11, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    […] how I told you a while ago about an ambitious undertaking by local photographer Erica Hampton called The Ypsi Project? Well, she’s still at it. Her goal, as you’ll recall, was to […]

  2. By An update on The Ypsi Project on March 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    […] how, a year or so ago, I told you about a young photographer here in Ypsi and her ambitious plan to take a portrait of a different person in the City every day for a year? Well, Erica Hampton’s Ypsi Project has taken a few big twists and turns since then, but it […]

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