An annual award that TIME magazine started three years ago has chosen it's official 2015 winner. Stacy Kranitz is an Instagram photographer who is most famous for her work in the Appalachia area. The poverty stricken, drug and alcohol filled area is certainly an eye opening subject. But why her in particular?
TIME magazine says it's because she uses Instagram "as it was intended" and as Matt Black said, 2014's winner, "to witness things as they happen." Her call to fame, other than just her photos, is how involved she is with her subjects, often posting selfies with them and admitting to intimate relationships, even sexual, with them.
Stacy's style came about through limitations. Initially, she claims she would roam the streets of New York city "aggressively attacking people with my camera" but had to give up this style because of medical issues with her feet. Instead, she began becoming part of her subject's life. Growing intimate relationships with them and then documenting the moments in life they shared together. This is a stark contrast to photojournalism in general, where a dichotomy between subject and journalist is praised and encouraged.
I wanted to use the camera as an excuse to get to know people and get close to them... This has been at the core of my work ever since.
Her project, From the Study of Post-Pubescent Manhood is called "an intense, visceral, and unglamorized engagement with a raw and elementary, almost primeval, world of adolescence, where young testosterone, adrenaline, and substance-fueled males partake in the recreational rituals of coming of age, while living life on the edge" by TIME Magazine.
I was feeling lonely and I missed all of the disparate people in my life.... I wanted a way to connect with them. The platform [Instagram] seemed ideal for this.
Just after I saw this guy pissing in the subway, I found Linda lying on the ground next to a church. I could not tell if she was drunk, a prostitute, on drugs but something did not feel right. When I tapped her on the shoulder it was evident that she had been crying. I asked if I could walk her home. For 14 blocks, I held this strange woman's hand. She stumbled a few times and fell once, but we made it She hugged me goodbye. Then I stole candy from the Halloween candy bowl set out for the kids in the neighborhood on Avenue D and went to bed.
She claims the project has led her to ask more and more questions, "What does it mean to represent someone in a photograph? How is my representation different or the same as those who have come before me to depict this place and its people? Where does the line between subjectivity and objectivity exist? Is truth subjective? How can a photograph demystify stereotypes when the viewer is trained to seek stereotypes out and fix people in their own vision of what they think the other represents? Is culture something that can be gotten right? How do I make work that explores my complicated relationship to my subjects?"