California-based photographer Enrico Natali’s recent book Detroit 1968 captures the city as it was 45 years ago, during a time when it was alive and kicking.

The photographs are a spell-binding reminder that nothing lasts forever. During the following decades, the bustling city lost more than half its population and spiraled into bankruptcy. But the current state of sadness and disarray is nowhere foreshadowed in Natali’s photographs; instead, these images depict a healthy city, one filled with rambunctious teenagers, hard workers and happy families.

The photos displayed in the book were originally showcased in 1972 at an exhibition called “New American People.” Hugh Edwards, the Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago during that time, commented, “these scenes and incidents might have occurred anywhere in the United States in this time when regional characteristics were disappearing… This is a view of a situation and condition, not a localization.”

This remark is a rather ominous one given the benefit of hindsight. Every city, no matter how strong, is not impervious to the harsher conditions of life.

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[via HuffingtonPost]