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Picture Detroit Behind the Scenes

Welcome! From Picture Detroit founder, Christina Collie

Picture Detroit'S ORIGINS

First, I want to thank you for taking the time to be here. 

There are now 100's of people walking around Detroit taking the types of pictures I've been shooting for the past 8 years, so the fact that you're here means a lot. What I have to offer that the majority of the others can't is a connection and history with Detroit stemming back to the 80's when I used to visit with my family, and the 90's as a student at CCS, where I graduated with a degree in advertising and a focus on art direction. I have also been very fortunate to work with some of the most amazing companies in the city: the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau; Bedrock Detroit; The Detroit Experience Factory; Build Institute; and Cobo (now TCF) Center. 

I founded Picture Detroit in 2012, when media at home and across the globe focused only on the negative and used the least flattering images possible, I had only one goal: to let the world know the beauty of the city and the positive things happening here. The name “Picture Detroit” came from my hope that someday, when people searched for “pictures of Detroit”, my images highlighting the beauty of the city would be what they see rather than the negative depictions of Detroit popular during that time. Picture Detroit has come to be recognized as a valuable tool connecting people to what is happening in the city and specializes in fine art street photography. Some photos are left as-is with a minimal amount of editing, while others combine mixed media, paint, and found objects. Picture Detroit has been featured by numerous sources such as Channel 4, Visit Detroit, and Detroit Homecoming. You can find my photography for purchase at the Detroit Metro Airport in the Detroit! store (McNamara Terminal) in addition to local hotels and homes and offices around the world. Picture Detroit’s mission is to build community and connect people, especially Detroit ex-pats, with the city they love by highlighting the wonderful things happening here. Each original and limited edition image is personally hand-signed, and also comes with a signed, logo-stamped description of the image and an artist’s statement.​

In March of 2020, I had to relocate to Flint in order to be closer to my Dad and Grandma, who has cancer. It was a scary time to be making such a big transition, with everything in the state shutting down and I wasn't even sure if the sale of the house I was purchasing near downtown Flint was going to go through. Thankfully it did, and I am now proud to call this place of resilient folks and one of the strongest underground + public art movements home. To honor my new hometown, I have decided to do something that I've never done in the history of founding Picture Detroit: promote another city besides Detroit and one of the biggest ways to do that was to create a Flint calendar based off of my favorite places and events that I have experienced in my first year and half here. Thank you to the people of Flint who offered feedback and suggestions to help make the calendar a success it's first year!

How I give back: Two small Detroit organizations changed my life as a small business owner, and I am so excited to be able to give back ~ a portion of all sales go to: Build Institute, and Kiva Detroit. Also, I recently learned that Flint has a "SOUP" event, which Flint SOUP is a quarterly dinner that raises seed money for start-ups in the Flint community. Each of these organizations is a life-line for entrepreneurs; many of the businesses are minority-owned and each organization not only procures funding for small businesses just starting out, but allows the business to grow in the community and also strengthen their business resources. I was personally the recipient of a Kiva loan and can speak to the power that the organization gives small business owners to go further in realizing their dreams.  

Thank you for your support, Picture Detroit could not exist without you! 


Having lived in Detroit for college eons ago, to move back and find so many positive changes, even with our mayor on trial and a pending bankruptcy, I was inspired to share all of the great things happening in Detroit, along with the amazing community and how everyone was coming together to make the city a better place. 

I am inspired daily by the people, history, architecture, and events.


Many of my photos were shot via iphone, at the moment they were happening. I like to think of my style as "documentary meets fine arts", continuously striving to create a dream-like quality to the images, so the viewer feels as if they may have been there at the time the photo was taken. I also use a Fuji X-20; Fuji Instax; Olympus; Polaroid; and Samsung pocket camera to shoot. For me, it is about recording the moment in time, not necessarily HOW the moment is recorded. I also like to work in acrylic paint and use found objects on large printed works to further tell the story behind the image.

career highlights

Shows include: Barefoot Productions (2019); College for Creative Studies Alumni Show (2018, 2019, 2021); Detroit Homecoming (2016, 2017, 2019); and Detroit Shipping Co. (2019).


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