Some artists gain fame instantly. Others work quietly for years, building up a body of work that suddenly bursts onto the scene and gains all the acclaim it has long deserved.
For the most part, photographer Bruce Harkness is one of those latter artists.
Over the last several years, the talented lensman has been putting on show after show displaying his historic photos of Detroit and Hamtramck that date back to the mid-1970s, when he was a student living in the inner city. He brought out old prints of residents of the near east side for a show called East Side Stills
seven years ago. Two years ago, he drew on his photos taken in the fading days of Poletown
, when the neighborhood was being demolished for the General Motors plant that now straddles Detroit and Hamtramck.
More recently, his show of photos featuring classic views of Detroit's skid row, the Cass Corridor
, was a real eye-opener, especially for a younger generation that's only seen the neighborhood as it is now, all aglitter.
This new show is sort of a grab bag. It features dozens of shots from several different eras and places in metro Detroit, from 1975 to just last year. You can expect the gritty shots of Poletown and Cass Corridor, views of Brush Park, but also blues musicians hanging out at Hamtramck's long-gone Attic Bar, and even a few shots of a suburban hangout for kids in Dearborn.
Bruce Harkness: Greatest Hits!, opens with a reception 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Oloman Cafe, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck. The show will be up until March 18. At 8 p.m. on March 11, Harkness will give a photo talk on Ed Thiede, a lifelong Poletown resident who lived an "ordinary, extraordinary life."