Photograph from the Humanize the Numbers project, photographed in Michigan prisons

Gary Williams in collaboration with Jess G., 2015
Work in progress

Artist Statement

These images are important to me because they represent where I’m from. Everything about me is a representation of Detroit City. Good and bad. I love the Packard Building because of its beautiful structure, and can’t wait to see it reopen. The GM Renaissance Center represents the outcome of what can happen when you follow your dreams. the M1 rail represents the future and things to come for Detroit. But what I love the most about these images is that they’re of places, people and things that I miss so much, and love. They are also what freedom looks like to me.

In the past, I used to dream of being a successful football player, but that was when times were good for me. Without a care in the world, all I ever did was dream about fun times and playing good guys vs. bad guys with my little brothers all day long. But as I got older times got harder, and all my dreams of being a successful football player just went away. Growing up in Detroit City wasn’t about fun and games; things got real very fast. So at the age of ten, I began thinking like a young man, not like the kid I was because everything around me was going from nice to bad or just gone. I was losing friends year after year, even my favorite building was being removed. But every time I see the old Packard plant it gives me hope because no one really knows what the future holds. With a strong structure, anything is possible.

Today at this present time I live in a prison full of men with broken dreams and promises. At one time in my life, all I ever wanted to do was to be a successful father with ve kids. But my bad decision making set me back years. But now my present mindset and my all-around new way of thinking are helping me become a better person. Because of my present living situation, I’m able to say that I am better today than I was before I came here. So like the king of the automobile industry, William C. Durant, I’m taking advantage of these new conditions. Just like General Motors, I’m working every day on myself, trying to reward myself with nothing but greatness.

I’m looking to the future with big dreams of a better life for myself. The M1 rail is going to open up Detroit to every other city in the state at a low cost. I’m looking forward to being able to take a ride on the M1.