Monday, April 7, 2008

The Westerns


In the spirit of female blog unity I want to discuss The Westerns by Katy Grannan. I was blown away at this monumental book. Perhaps it goes back to ideas of expectations that I talked about in the post on Roe Ethridge. I never thought Grannan was capable of making such a stunningly perfect book. The all white cover with the drawing of a bird on a branch brings us into this mystical landscape filled with the “new pioneers” of California. The images at first glance appear shockingly exploitive as she takes on the much sought out photographers subject matter “the other."  However as you turn the pages and delve deeper into this vertical book of horizontal landscapes of portraits centered often across the gutter the images portray an enormous amount of tenderness. So it is here that I ask the question; Could a man have made The Westerns? Should we talk about it in relationship to Avedon’s In the American West? Perhaps there is a sense of compassion that is more innate in Grannan's work than Avedon and fairer comparison should be made to Arbus or Tanyth Berkeley. I am still thinking this one over. Possibly this post is a little premature as my thoughts are still being formulated. Oh well.