Your Town Tomorrow is a decade long, immersive photo documentary project that shows the city of Detroit in the midst of a monumental and challenging transition. Photographed largely between 2007 and 2017, this project chronicles the city as it enters the great recession, and then later as it emerged as a site of opportunity for outsiders to benefit from reinvestment and gentrification.
But Vermeulen doesn't focus her camera on Detroit's infamous post-industrial landscape. Instead she turns primarily to the people of the city: community gardeners, families, activists, and long time residents. Her photographs are firmly entrenched in the humanist school of social documentary photography. Vermeulen engages and connects with her subjects, learns their stories and histories, and photographs them with dignity.
This generosity of spirit comes through powerfully in her portraiture. The people in this selection of images exude confidence, confronting Vermeulen's camera directly, but there is also a subtle uncertainty in her subjects. A striking young woman with purple hair, wearing a jacket covered in buttons promoting activist causes and punk bands wrings her hands, perhaps unsure of her place in the future of the city. Your Town Tomorrow shows the landscape of Detroit through surprising details that also suggests its uncertain future. Long and beautiful grass in an overgrown field obscures the decaying buildings. A replica Statue of Liberty seems lost, absurdly watching over a building's electric meter. Some sort of light pole or cell phone tower is dressed up as bright red palm tree against a grey sky. This image combines the silly and mundane to suggest the emerging presence of something insincere and artificial.
Foil stamped laminated hardcover
105 color photographs
9.25 x 11.5 in
Designed by Kikko Paradela
Printed by Ofset Yapimevi in Istanbul, 2019