Even a possible five hour Caps v Rangers playoff game couldn’t keep many away from Comet Ping Pong Wednesday night.Â I watched as about dozens upon dozens piled in to the rustic playful space for a private book launch party, supporting a well-known and beloved Washington family, the Reyes family.Â Jimmy Reyes has been a long time friend and supporter of the Punch and its charity events (Reyes Holdings) and when he informed me of his sister’s (as in his ONE sister out of seven brothers) book publication party, I put it in pen in my calendar.
The night’s guests included Septime Webre, Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet, Mary Haft, a long time friend of the Reyes family and founder of the Washington Ballet, the ultimate Dem, Terry McAuliffe (in a close shaven new cut) who told Jimmy and me his past weekend’s event for Obama was sold out and a huge success, Kevin Chaffee of Qorvis Communications, Margot Bisnow of the Bisnow publications and many many more.Â Photographer Detroit: 138 Square Miles, Julia Reyes Taubman was introduced by her admiring brother Jimmy, who with humor and sweet humility quickly told the story of Julia, how she ended up in Detroit (marriage, my dear) and when she got there, she was so moved by the visuals.Â The visuals were a narrative of depression and desertion of a once vibrant city. Jimmy said, “This is a book of ‘it is what it is’.Â It’s not meant to be political.”
Julia, not one to sit back on her laurels, took over 35,000 photos over the course of seven years.Â And to think it started as a hobby.Â There were times when she had to be escorted by off duty policemen while walking in rough parts of the town. The things she did to complete this project, well, she would just do.Â She wanted this story told but visually.Â Julia took the mic thanking her husband, her family, her brothers, Mary Haft, so many people who had her back during her work.Â One of the most interesting parts to the book is the foreward by the writer screenwriter and crime genre author Elmore Leonard (Justified, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, 3:10 to Yuma).Â It’s brilliant and moving. Here’s an excerpt:
Some neighborhoods where she shot, Julia had to have police protection. See if you can pick them out.
I told her she should write a tag line for each shot. It doesnâ€™t have to be descriptive, you had fun doing this, say what you want. Like, â€œCould you imagine taking a shower in here?â€ But youâ€™ll do better than that.
Sheâ€™s thorough, she covers what sheâ€™s shooting until she gets what she wants you to feel.
In Juliaâ€™s composition there is beauty in despair, and sometimes a glimmer of hope. We see life and death in Detroit, nothing Chamber of Commerce inspired, but more real than any other reality show. If what happened in Detroit is a crime, Juliaâ€™s book is the crime story.
Detroit: 138 Square Miles is a tome filled with stunning, emotive photographs from all over Motor City, or so it had been once known.Â It’s a heavy book, I’d say ideal coffee table book or gift.Â Whatever you think or don’t think about Detroit, toss it away.Â These photos tell more than a thousand words.Â When you look at each, you stare, you think about what it used to look like, who used to live there, play there, work there, what lives each led, the drama, the laughs, the good times, the sad times, the history, and the future.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.