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Corine Vermeulen-Smith July 10, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.

Chavo with his ‘83 Cutlass Supreme. Detroit, 2008

Corine Vermeulen-Smith (b. 1977, Netherlands) currently lives and works in Detroit. She completed an MFA in photography at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan, and holds a BFA (Cum Laude) in graphic design from the Design Academy Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Her work has been exhibited in the United States and Europe, and most recently in Beijing, China. Her photographs are also part of the Midwest Photographer’s Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. She has twice been the recipient of project grants from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB). Corine is also a 2009 Kresge Artist Fellow.

About the Photograph:

“I moved from the Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan about three years ago.  My main mode of transport there was a bicycle and it wasn’t until last year that I bought a car and obtained a driver’s license. While learning how to drive in the parking lot behind my house I met and began photographing a group of Lowrider enthusiasts. Photographing the cars and their owners allows me to examine cultural identity and ethnic pride as defined by the vehicles. The car is one of the most powerful symbols of American identity. I seek to explore the role of the car in contemporary Detroit.  Is it a high value consumerist item? Is it a fetishized object of personalization? Is it an outdated form of modernist transportation?  Is Detroit car culture fragmented along ethnic lines, like the city itself? Up to this point I have primarily focused on Lowriders but I am currently in the process of photographing and indexing many more car subcultures like Donks, Old Schools and Tuner Cars.”

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