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Documenting DETROIT Presents: Samantha Appleton and Salwan Georges

  • Red Bull House of Art 1551 Winder Street Detroit, MI, 48207 United States (map)

The Documenting DETROIT Lecture Series and Open House continues in March, with Salwan Georges and Samantha Appleton sharing their work, and of course we'll be making pictures at the Pop-UP Portrait Studio for our guests! 

Salwan Georges was born in Baghdad, Iraq and raised in Syria, calling Metro Detroit his home since 2004. He is currently a staff photojournalist at the Detroit Free Press. 
The global refugee crisis has worsened. In the U.S., the acceptance of refugees has become controversial as the country tries to understand the complex myriad of conflicts in the Middle East. Georges long-term project, “Finding Freedom,” documents the lives, worship and struggles of a people facing new challenges and opportunities, gaining access to their most intimate gatherings and ceremonies. Metro Detroit has been home to the largest Arab community outside the Middle East. Starting over in America has meant adapting to new surroundings while simultaneously trying to retain cultural customs and language. Georges work has also been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, the Telegraph (UK), and The Intercept.

Samantha Appleton is based in New York, NY, and has photographed many subjects from Maine to Madagascar, from war to the White House. Appleton states, "There is a direct line between a bombing in Baghdad and a spaghetti supper campaign stop in Manchester, NH. The camera and my role as a journalist allow me to shift between the various but related subjects that I have documented for over a decade. Creating a first draft of history, with the ultimate goal of justice, is the motivation. My work quietly encourages the viewer to be complicit in the world's most difficult and complicated stories. My quieter pictures -- even of war -- are often the strongest against time's weakening of memory. They illuminate a story in a way that the flash of the day's news may not sustain.... The historic narrative offers little instant gratification, but it is everything when the dust of the day settles and it reveals itself. Even if it requires impossible patience." 

Documenting DETROIT is a program of Facing Change: Documenting America (FCDA), a nonprofit organization created by photojournalists in 2009 to address our era of great challenges in the United States through photographs and narratives. FCDA collaborates with the Library of Congress to archive and publish work; the first product of that effort, a book entitled "Facing Change" was published in October 2012. For more information on FCDA, please visit

The evening will take place at Red Bull House of Art, a residency program for local artists in the Detroit metropolitan area, located in Detroit's Historic Eastern Market. Each artist is given a generous budget for supplies, a studio space accessible 24 hours a day and an exhibition at the end of their stay where they keep 100% of the profits from sales. Detroit was chosen for its rich history in creative achievements and the diverse and talented artist community. Red Bull House of Art Detroit is currently the only one of it's kind in the world, after similar program ideas were explored in cities like Sao Paulo, Brazil and Lisbon, Portugal.