Grass begins to brown among glassy puddles in the late autumn sun as the roof of the Packard Plant in Detroit assumes the appearance of a prairie that one would otherwise expect to encounter in northern Michigan. Were it not for the short concrete wall running parallel to the horizon, or the distant shape of the East Town theater just right of center, the viewer may very well assume this image to have been taken in absolute wilderness. I stumbled upon this scene during my first visit to the Packard, and was immediately bewildered by the serenity of it. While I was successful in capturing this mood, maintaining it while taking the shot was a little more difficult. Shortly after arriving on the roof, a blue and grey helicopter began buzzing the plant at a low altitude. My party and I, who were for the most part virgins at urban exploration, immediately assumed police and did our best to keep cool. I decided this shot was too important to ditch so I clung to the shadows and setup the composition. While in the process, I began to take into account that even if police did try to track us down in the 3.5 million square foot giant, we could easily evade them, and my tensions alleviated. Years later, I look back and wonder why I thought decided Detroit Police Department (or any department for that matter) would waste such valuable and dwindling resources chasing photographers around a vacant structure with a helicopter. Odds are that the chopper was a for hire tour service that was taking other photographers over the plant for a unique view. Urban tourists, just like myself.
- Nicolas Boileau