Stacy Kranitz: As It Was Give(n) To Me

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One native’s photographic survey of the long-stereotyped Appalachian region

For the past 12 years, American photographer Stacy Kranitz has been making photographs in the Appalachian region of the United States in order to explore how photography can solidify or demystify stereotypes in a community where the medium has failed to provide an equitable depiction of its people. Born and raised in Appalachia, Kranitz approaches the region as a spectator, but not an outsider. Rather than reinforcing conventional views of Appalachia as a poverty-ridden region, or by selectively dwelling on positive aspects to offset problematic stereotypes, she insists that each of these options are equally damaging ways of looking at a place. In a foil-stamped clothbound hardcover with a design reminiscent of a topographical view of the region, this first monograph of Kranitz’s work features 225 four-color plates. The photos are accompanied by excerpts from the weekly column “Speak Your Piece” from the Mountain Eagle newspaper based in Whitesburg, Kentucky. As the story of As it Was Give(n) To Me unfolds, Kranitz begins a new kind of narrative: one that examines our understanding of culture and place in a manner that is poised between notions of right and wrong.
Stacy Kranitz (born 1976) was born in Kentucky and currently resides in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. She has been documenting the region since 2009, while also working as an assignment photographer for various publications including TimeNational Geographic and Vanity Fair. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Harvard Art Museums.

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