Dave Jordano

Dave Jordano was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1948. He received a BFA in photography from the College for Creative Studies in 1974. In 1977 he established a successful commercial photography studio in Chicago, IL, shooting major print campaigns for national advertising agencies. As a mid-career fine art photographer, he was awarded an honorable mention in the Houston Center for Photography’s Long Term Fellowship Project in 2003, and received the Curator’s Choice Award the following year. In 2006, 2008, and 2013 he was a three time top twenty finalist in Photolucida’s “Critical Mass” national photographic book award in Portland, Oregon. In 2015 Jordano won the prestigious $50,000 Canadian AIMIA AGO Photography Prize and became a finalist in the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Award, exhibited at National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. Today we take a look at his series titled, The Green Fog.

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The Green Fog

Over the past year a new phenomenon has been sweeping the Detroit landscape. Medical marijuana dispensaries have been popping up all over the city and it’s estimated that there are now over 200 centers located within the city limits, most of them situated at or near the bordering suburbs. That’s more than one per every square mile of the city. All of them are independently owned and mainly occupy previously empty commercial spaces that have been vacant for years.

Initially, applying for a license to operate a medical supply store was all you needed to open a dispensary, but Detroit’s city council recently passed an ordinance that greatly restricts their location and increases the requirements to operate. One requirement prohibits a dispensary to be located within 1000 feet of a liquor store, which in Detroit amounts to just about one on every other block. It’s an obvious attempt by the city to shut down as many businesses as possible, all at a time when the city needs to be rebuilding any kind of commercial infrastructure. Over the next several months most of these dispensaries, with names like The House of Dank, The Reef, the Grass Station, and Puff Detroit, names that reference clearly to the 1960’s psychedelic drug era, will be shut down for good because of non-compliance.

With a wonderfully eccentric and creative entrepreneurial spirit, the visual appearance of these businesses run the gambit from looking like swank private nightclubs to little DIY modest storefronts, mostly decorated with harsh green LED lights and the green cross that symbolize their trade. This will be an era in Detroit’s history that will no doubt come to an end just as quickly as it began. These photographs are a document to that brief moment, and the struggle between social acceptance and government oversight.

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In 2012 and 2014 he was a finalist in LensCultures International Exposure Awards. He was also selected for inclusion in “One Hundred Portfolios”, a compilation featuring the work of 100 leading photographers from around the world and sponsored by Wright State University, Dayton, OH. A major exhibition of his work from his “Articles of Faith” project was held at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, Illinois in 2009.

Jordano has had solo shows both nationally and internationally and his work is included in the permanent collection of several private, corporate, and museum institutions, most notably the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Detroit Historical Museum, The Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, the Harris Bank Collection, and the Federal Reserve Bank.

His previous book, published by the Center for American Places at Columbia College, Chicago titled, “Articles of Faith, Small African-American Community Churches of Chicago”, was released in April 2009.

His current project titled, “Detroit: Unbroken Down” documents the cultural and societal changes of his hometown of Detroit and was published by PowerHouse Books in the fall of 2015. Dave Jordano currently lives in Chicago, Illinois.

To view more of Jordano’s work please visit his website.



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