Their Town Today (Detroit, 2012 - 2017)
Corine Vermeulen photographs Detroit residents, buildings, and landscapes to chronicle the diverse experiences and spaces that shape and influence this city. Many of her projects are collaborative, working with specific communities to create portraits that speak to their individual values and challenges.
Their Town Today (2012-2017) is a new series made in relation to a previous body of work called Your Town Tomorrow that Vermeulen began in 2007, soon after she arrived in Detroit. Your Town Tomorrow included images that speculate various futures for Detroit’s residents and environments. Their Town Today is grounded in current realities, both promising and difficult. Some works update earlier portraits of family members and friends. Others chronicle the evolving cityscape, including the razed Brewster Projects and the many derelict homes that are purchased and renovated by artists. Still-lifes and object portraits suggest sociopolitical traumas and eccentricities, from a burned American flag found in a school supply warehouse to a small-scale Statue of Liberty just outside a Japanese restaurant.
Vermeulen shot this series in various urban neighborhoods, including Banglatown, a community near the Detroit-Hamtramck border that has many Bengali Muslim residents. She celebrates the diversity of these places through captivating portraits that convey sincerity and spirit in equal measure. As a whole, Their Town Today provides an authentic view into Detroit’s complex communities.
-Megan Lykins-Reich, Deputy Director, MOCA Cleveland