Friday, July 15, 2016

Stacy Kranitz Is Having a Wonderful 2016, and Its Only July

Kentucky-born photographer Stacy Kranitz (see image above) is based in LA, but is usually on the road in the South. 

Recently, she has been working on a documentary project about members of a Muslim community in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, now published on the Roads and Kingdoms website, here.

Right now, in fact, she says she is "shuffling between Central Appalachia (Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina) and an Artist residency in Pickens, South Carolina, and will be at least until September 9th, 2016."

SO, if you happen to run into her, please say hello to her for me, and congratulate her.
Because Stacy Kranitz is definitely having a moment in her career.

Kranitz ended 2015 by having a show of work from her As it Was Give(n) to Me portfolio at the Cardiff International Festival of Photography, in Wales, and by being named TIME magazine's Instagram Photographer of the year for 2015.

She also continued publication of her work on the VICE website, here, in an ongoing series that led, in 2016 to a targeted series on Appalachia, here.

And here, on the effects of strip mining. 

And here, on the social cost of the decline of the coal industry.

And here, on addiction.   

And here, on medical care. 

 And here, on folks who proudly claim to be Rednecks. 

This adds up to a major and significant body of work, which is earning for Kranitz a significant amount of well-deserved recognition. 

Her work was featured on SLATE in February, go here.  And on Dazed Digital, go here. And on Juxtapoz Magazine, go here.

Kranitz makes a lot of her work photographing what folks in the world of Southern literature call the Rough South, the world occupied by the characters created by writers like Harry Crews, Ernest Gaines, and my former colleague here at NC State, Tim McLauren.

Some folks think Kranitz's work plays into stereotypes about Southern and Appalachian culture. It certainly raises appropriate questions about who it is made for, and what will be made of it by audiences from very different social backgrounds and cultural contexts. 

We can discuss those questions, if we need to. 

But we need to remember, when we do discuss them, that those are questions that can be raised -- and have been raised -- about the work of Walker Evans, or Robert Frank, or any of a large number of celebrated photographers who work in the documentary mode and whose subjects are not likely to show up in the museums or galleries frequented by students of fine art photography

What one cannot deny, I think, is the essential humanity and compassion for her subjects -- as well as the high level of technical skill and eye for the critical moment -- that Kranitz brings to her work. And the value of Kranitz's subjects as human beings, and the value to them, as well as to us, of having their stories told.

All this is earning for her wide recognition as a Southern photographer, recognition which she richly deserves.

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