Detroit firefighter captures unique images of city’s forgotten neighborhoods

Firefighter and photographer Shane Klug. Photos by Steve Neavling
Firefighter and photographer Shane Klug. Photos by Steve Neavling

Ever wonder what a firefighter sees on a typical day in some of Detroit’s most challenged neighborhoods?

Firefighter Shane Klug has been snapping photos while on the job and sharing the captivating images on Instagram at @dfdlad26. The images are poignant and engaging, offering an unadulterated glimpse into neglected, forgotten neighborhoods of Detroit.

555 Photo Gallery

The images captured the attention of the nonprofit 555 Gallery in Detroit, which recently exhibited dozens of Klug’s photos.

“They’re shocking,” Michael Bradley told me at the gallery, gazing at an image of a graffiti-tagged home that had been burned out. “It’s just staggering to see this level of decay and abandonment in an American city.”

Klug, who works with Ladder #26 on the west side, is modest about his work.

“I don’t consider myself a photographer,” he said. “I just want to show people what it’s like out here.”

Detroit firefighters sees some of the worst of the city – areas riddled with blight and neglected by city services. 

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Sizz

    The Detroit Fire Department: The Whitest Guys You Know.

  • bebow

    I have ambivalent feelings about this kind of thing. One one hand, everyone needs to see how 95% of the population is living in Third World Detroit, because the conditions are a powerful reflection of the ruling elite’s raw discrimination in action. On the other hand, such things tend to convey a “We mounted an expedition into the ghetto at great peril to photograph the natives in their natural habitat” flavor, which is highly offensive, or a tangy “Man, you’ll never believe the foul working conditions I have to endure at reduced compensation,” missing the mark entirely. I would be good with the display if it were correctly entitled, “THIS IS WHAT DISCRIMINATION LOOKS LIKE.”

    • Dust Buster

      i get your points but please clarify the brand of discrimination you are talking about. i hope and dont think you mean racial but more financial/political

      • Oberyn_Martell

        Judging by past posts I don’t think he’s implying racial discrimination but rather the deeming of regions and residents within them as not economically viable therefore leaving them to crime and decay.

        • Dust Buster

          thats what i figured and i am with you on that