Model American

Photographs by Katy Grannan
Essay by Jan Avgikos

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9 14/16 x 11 1/2 inches 112 pags, 70 four-color images Hardcover 978-1-931788-81-6 Fall 2005

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.

Katy Grannan was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, in 1969. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 1991 and her M.F.A. from Yale University in 1999. Her work has been featured in multiple group exhibitions; she was one of five photographers selected for the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Solo exhibitions of Grannan’s work have been held at Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art in New York (2000 and 2003) and other galleries. She recently received the 2004 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers, the Theater Gallery of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2004). Grannan is represented by the Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York. She lives in New York City and San Francisco.


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