DEMF 2000

Monday, May 29th, Memorial Day Weekend.
Closing night of the inaugural Detroit Electronic Music Festival.

A Limited Edition Print.

  • Derrick May on the main stage at the inaugural Detroit Electronic Music Festival.
    Monday, May 29th, 2000, Memorial Day.

    Shot on Polaroid B/W 35mm Instaslide film.
    Photographed by Stephen Yates

    24" x 17"
    Archival Pigment Print
    285gsm Aurora White Cotton Rag Fine Art Paper

    Limited edition of 25 prints, numbered, and signed (verso by photographer).
    Embossed with seal of authenticity, comes with certificate.

    Purchase Print
  • Derrick May, DEMF 2000

The Launch Party.

It was Memorial Day weekend in the year 2000, and on a Monday evening Strings Of Life played in what was possibly it’s most meaningful rotation, ever. A conceptual milestone anthem of techno music written by a hometown hero, echoed over Hart Plaza for a crowd at capacity. Not only does the song make anyone from Detroit order to stand up, but as the song played, the unified crowd knew something bigger was happening. In the background, as the sampled strings of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra played from the vinyl grooves, a city was truly coming back to life. And for all intents and purposes, in that moment, the inaugural DEMF became the launch party for a new Detroit.


This photo was taken by Stephen Yates, then a part-owner of the legendary Chicago rave lighting company Axis Intelligent Lighting, and presently the tour lighting director for Modest Mouse. In addition to being a world-traveled veteran photographer, Stephen is a resourceful mofo. The music festival was a lot different back then. The festival was free admission and most likely understaffed for the massive influx of people over the course of the holiday weekend. On the closing night, in the second-to-last timeslot before the festival ended, Stephen was able to get behind the stage while Derrick was playing, and captured one of the most iconic Detroit Techno photos of all time.


The photo was shot on Polachrome film, specifically Polaroid B/W 35mm Instaslide film, a now extinct film format. And hearing Stephen tell the development process only adds to the uniqueness. "The strange thing about that film is it had no ISO/film speed. A lot of it had to do with how long you let it sit in the processor before winding it back through. I'm guessing I let it sit a little too long. But I knew it was a pretty dark shot and needed a little pushing." There is an inherent analog grain texture that comes through in the photo. An endearing organic pattern that can't be replicated with digital tools and contemporary formats, at least not authentically. It seems odd to wax romantic about something that might have been considered disposable 20 years ago, but time and distance makes the heart grow fonder. Or as Stephen puts it perfectly "Those mistakes in film that worked in your favor, ya know?"

We are pleased to present this limited edition print in collaboration with Stephen Yates, and is now available exclusively from the Low Res shop.

Purchase Print
Derrick May, DEMF 2000

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