I was born here. It’s on my birth certificate. Cleveland and Lake Erie were the roots of my childhood until 1984, when our family moved to the Detroit suburbs. Thus, I feel uniquely qualified to laugh at the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video that declares, at the very least, “We’re Not Detroit!”
If you visit Cleveland (sure, why not) you’ll find a city with an identity crisis. Construction is everywhere. In 2014 it hosted the Gay Games and in 2016 the Republican National Convention arrives.
If C-Town is a case study in urban decay, why did LeBron James return from Miami? Was it the nascent farm-to-table movement my sister observes? Or a sense of community to help stop the violence on Cleveland’s East side? The city has glue. It held together after the police shooting of an innocent child, as opposed to the riots in Baltimore or Ferguson.
My life began in Cleveland, yet I remember almost nothing of it. As I return to photograph, I’m a man seeking his past, as my hometown city tries to forget it.