project leader
KoChien S
(North End)
latest update rss
No updates yet.

the project

  The Heart of Detroit is a project that I began in April of 2020 to show the effects of COVID-19 on the residents of the city of Detroit and how important community resilience is, even in a time where we were subjected to socially distance & isolate. Detroit is a city that has strong community ties and that is often overlooked by not only the media but the rest of the country. I wanted to show the good that community members were doing; I had intended to shoot the COVID-19 photos in black & white with everyone wearing masks, and I had hoped that in a few months I would be able to revisit the same people but with color photos and no masks. However, the pandemic put a hold on that idea.

  While working on the first section of this project, I met Marc Klockow, a photographer based in Detroit that had documented every day of the Black Lives Matter protests in Detroit through 2020. Through interviewing them, we quickly became friends and both realized we had a similar outlook on the city, so much so that we found our talents to mutually benefit a second portion of this project. Marc would handle the media end of things, taking professional-grade portraits of those I interviewed, and I'd handle the storytelling end & provide accompanying text of the subject. This is where "Part 2" of The Heart of Detroit was born.

  Now, more than a year later, with not only COVID-19, but also a flurry of other of complications including but not limited to racial injustice uprisings, climate disaster, and infrastructure failures, the people of Detroit are still resilient. Many people in the news media or in general paint the city in a negative light and or completely ignore it, but there are so many residents, community activists, and artists who continue to proudly represent and lift the city up. Our goal is to showcase these people and show the world what the Heart of Detroit truly looks like. 

the steps

Many of these things have already been happening, first I find community members and do initial contact with them, explaining what the project is and what we are trying to do. If they agree to be included, Marc and I set up a date to go take photos of people in their element. So we spend a good amount of time driving around the city to make sure that people are photographed in the places that they feel the most comfortable.  We take all necessary safety precations, so before vaccines, photos were taken quickly.  But now we spend more time with people.  Marc and I still wear masks but try to capture a more candid side to life.  After that, I call and interview them more in depth, recording the call and use their words to describe what make the city of Detroit such a unique and special place. Our ultimate hope is to publish all of these pictures and interviews.

why we're doing it

  We're doing this project to provide something that Detroit is often overlooked for, and that's the people.

  So many Detroiters have noble efforts & operations that end up getting swept under the rug and we're setting out to provide a spotlight on those people. The beauty of Detroit's people is something that is overlooked too often, and highlighting the talents and passion of Detroiters is the main thing we want to accomplish out of this project. Our intentions are to boost the stories of so many folk that often get overlooked-- we want to put Detroit on the map as it deserves to be.


Hoping to cover 100 profiles of people in Detroit to produce a book highlighted the awesome people of our community. 

Phase 1: Content for the Book

We estimate $1600-2000 for stipends to say thank you for the people we profile in our book

Transportation & Gas - The way Detroit is laid out, we have to drive everywhere! In order to execute on this project, we need to raise about $400 amount for gas, which will be used for the purpose of our project. 

$3.50/gallon $35-40 a week for gas. 10 weeks of the project.

Phase 2: Publish the book! 

Publishing Costs: We would like to publish these books and make sure there are copies available to the public. For those who want to purchase the book, there will be a sliding scale suggested donation. 

If we surpass our Phase 1 goal, we will continue fundraising for phase 2.

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $120
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.



Sorry, but this project doesn't have any updates yet.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Lotusstp
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Bill Southworth
  • Anonymous
  • Patrick Keen