Fine Art

Detroit Modern

People will often ask me “what do you do for fun?” and my first answer is ALWAYS, “…photography…” And because of that, I am always looking for new ways to express myself through my art, and my lens. Detroit Modern came out of that exploration.

Detroit Modern

Detroit Modern was a 5 year long project I embarked on with my lawn guy believe it or not – where I photographed some of the most amazing mid-century-modern homes in Metro Detroit designed by architects such as Irv Tobocman, Don Paul Young and others.

Our family could not have asked for a better documentarian of these works and our gratitudeto Amy Claeys for her impeccable camera-work is immeasurable.David Tobocman

But how did this happen? Traditionally, I describe myself as a photographer of people. However, I have always loved going out and finding the Art in the Wild.

“Through the Gate” A view though the gate by the coy pond at Anna Scripps Conservatory on Belle Isle in Detroit. Photography by Amy Claeys

So when Peter saw my camera sitting next to me one day, asked if I was a photographer, and I could show him some real estate work I’ve done in the past, we teamed up to create this book. Most of the photography in the book is mine. 388 of the 500 or so images in fact.

For me, this book was a lesson in light, shadows, color and the blending of nature and architecture. I learned so much about how these things blend together to create a whole. As David Tobocman said in the Forward of Detroit Modern,

Striking that delicate balance and integrating the man-made structure with its natural surroundings is part of what makes a house a home, imbuing it with much more than its objective design properties, giving it a sense of place.

David describes this balance so well. I learned to to balance the color, the nature in and through the home, and minute details of balancing light and shadow while photographing and editing the photos for this book. And that education has migrated itself into every aspect of role as Photographer.

I learned a lot during this project, and now can proudly and confidently describe myself as both a wedding photographer, as well as an architectural photographer.

I need you to understand something, Amy. Your work is in the top 15% of any I have seen in my career. – Don Paul Young to me at the Detroit Modern launch party

What’s Next?

I am delighted to share that I have begun work with the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio from Midland Michigan, on a second mid-century-modern coffee table book.

This project will consist of 35 to 40 mid-century modern homes and churches in Midland Michigan (of over 400 different structures), where designers such as Alden B. Dow, Francis Red Warner, and Jackson Hallett among others built a story of this incredible body of work. Further, it will enhance Michigan’s incredible design heritage and highlight those individuals who created new definitions and solutions in design and architecture.

I am excited to share this new adventure with you as soon as I can!

I wanted to tell you that you truly brought my father’s Art to life. – David Tobocman to me at the Detroit Modern book launch event.
  1. Scott & Georgina Leach says:

    Hello Amy, Scott & Georgie Leach here from Midland, MI. We were one of the lucky one to be chosen for the Mid- Century Modern photo shoot you did this past summer.

    We were just wondering if any of the photos are available to view of our home.

    We were One of the smaller homes- 3704 Blarney Dr.


    S & G

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