Alleys & Ruins no. 69, Enter (2005, Detroit, MI, 2:30am)

Mark and I have just finished a shot (Alley no. 69), a technical challenge. I had to give each traffic light a different exposure by covering the lens, and also pausing the exposure for a few passing cars, going through several light cycles to get it right. Having completed the shot, we agree we’re ready to do more exploring, so we head off for another part of the city – its 3:30 am.

We’re driving along Woodward Avenue, Detroit's once grand old main street, when I see an interesting water tower and shadows. I park the car and we head off, without the camera, to hunt down a photograph. I’m standing in an empty lot, examining the scene, when a likely crack-head ventures toward us. “Do you have 50 cents, I just need 50 cents.” I continue to observe the scene, and he persists. “I just need 50 cents man” Finally I dig in and give him 50 cents. “Aw man, I just need another 50 cents,” I tell him I have no more money, but he persists with his hand out. The shot is not that interesting, and the dude is annoying, so I tell Mark we should split.

We head back toward the car when we’re suddenly confronted by a gang of six guys, all wearing the same white bandana. They see us and one hollers “What the fuck you doin here!” and they head toward us. Mark and I peel off. We run toward Woodward, turning the corner and continue running. The gang also turns the corner not far behind us, and I can hear their threatening shouts. My heart is racing; I feel it’s going to burst out of my chest. We continue bolting down Woodward until the gang finally gives up. Mark and I don’t stop until we’ve cleared several more blocks.

We finally stop and look at each other. I laugh first, then he starts laughing. We’re bent over, cracking up, exhausted, when Mark says, “we still have to go back for the car.” We stop laughing... It’s agreed we’ll wait an hour, in our relative safety, then cautiously head back and pick up the car.

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Xavier Nuez

319 N. Albany Ave, Studio 1N5

Chicago, IL 60640

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