I am haunted by what I found in one office: hundreds of file folders containing student psychological examinations complete with social security numbers, addresses, and parent information. I sat and thumbed through them. Many contained detailed histories of physical and sexual abuse, stories of home lives so horrifying I still can't get them out of my head: sibling rape, torture, neglect that defies belief. The detailed reports explained emotional impairments, learning disabilities. There was another box full of IEPs. The dates revealed that many of these students are still in the school system somewhere. I found several of their faces in the 2007 yearbook.
These aren't 20-year-old files, this is a school that just closed at the end of the 2007 school year. The names and stories belong to still-little kids shuffled to some other Detroit school.
His photos and a brief essay documenting those schools in Detroit appear in the U.K. magazine, Vice.
This post tells about an afternoon James spent giving a TIME magazine reporter a tour of the city for a story...His Flickr page reveals that TIME then turned around and screwed him by hiring some NY photographer to come to Detroit and recreate his photographs. Assholes.
*Title of a fantastic Robert Plant song. After contemplating this story its hard for me to imagine a place that actually is...