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Katy Grannan: Model American

Katy Grannan’s striking portraits capture the desire of her subjects to offer themselves up to the camera lens. Each of her well-known series—Poughkeepsie Journal, Dream America, and Morning Call—began with a simple ad placed by Grannan in local newspapers: “Art Models. Artist/Photographer (female) seeks people for portraits. No experience necessary. Leave msg.” After an initial telephone conversation, Grannan travels to the caller’s home. Photographing her models in their own surroundings, she pays meticulous attention to the elements of their domestic settings: wood paneling, patterned wallpaper, and other mundane but often telling details. The subjects choose to remain clothed, to model nude, or to pause somewhere in between, working with Grannan to arrive at the pose. The resulting images reflect the intensity of the relationship between artist and model. With subjects centrally framed and directly facing the camera, each image resonates with the tension of a first encounter. In Grannan’s series Sugar Camp Road and her most recent work, she moves the exercise outdoors, using a municipal park as the backdrop. Even though the parklands that serve as her set bring the private encounters of her earlier series into the public landscape, she maintains a delicate—yet charged—sense of intimacy. This book received generous support from: Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York; Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; and Salon 94, New York. This book is also supported by the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial and in recognition of the valuable cultural contributions of artists to society.—the publisher