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Cate Vermeland puts focus on 4 miles of Hennepin Ave., a la Wing Young Huie

The four-mile stretch of Hennepin Avenue from Lakewood Cemetery to the Mississippi River is about to undergo scrutiny of the sort Lake Street and University Avenue have seen from photographer Wing Young Huie.

This time, not Huie but another photographer, who takes inspiration from Huie's huge undertakings, will be tripping her camera's shutter from Uptown to Downtown along a major Twin Cities avenue.

Cate Vermeland teaches photography, communication arts and art history at Concordia University in St. Paul. But it was volunteering as an usher at Huie's "University Avenue Project" outdoor slideshow events this year that put her on the path to a photographic exploration of her own.

Vermeland is an Uptown girl. She grew up there in a pre-chain era when mom-and-pop stores prevailed, and she lived on Hennepin Avenue itself for most of the 1990s. "Its great that it's still a walkable street," she says.

Charting Hennepin's changes is part of the point of her project. Vermeland plans to rephotograph views from the archives of Norton & Peel, a local photography firm in business through the 1960s. She'll match the archival image then take more pictures to provide context to the historical pairing.

Vermeland, speaking to The Line by phone from her darkroom, says her approach differs from Huie's somewhat photojournalistic bent: "I come purely out of an artistic tradition." Her photos will explore how architecture along Hennepin creates community, But the pictures, in black and white, are likely to be unpopulated, giving viewers space to enliven the scenes with their imaginations.  

Vermeland and Huie will hold a public conversation about their projects Thursday, October 21 at 5:30 p.m. at 1433 University Ave., St. Paul (near University and Albert), followed at 6:30 p.m. by another in the series of outdoor slideshows of Huie's "University Avenue Project."

Source: Cate Vermeland, Concordia University
Writer: Chris Steller
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