2015 TIME Magazine's Instagram Photographer of The Year

2015 TIME Magazine's Instagram Photographer of The Year

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. 

Wex's School of Wrestling

A photo posted by Stacy Kranitz (@stacykranitz) on

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.

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?" 

A photo posted by Stacy Kranitz (@stacykranitz) on

via [TIME]

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aaronbratkovics's picture

lol. i guess.

Logan Sorenson's picture

Maybe it's just me, I do not see the "of the year" quality in any of her work. It is not terrible by any means, and Appalachia is not a boring subject if done right I suppose but really these images alone do not scream anything to me, they fall more under a "a young person in high school took a class and walked around town with her friends taking photos, and their pretty good" sort of vibe...

IDk, I don't see it.

Stephen Atohi's picture

Over 60k followers. She must be doing something right?

From a photography standpoint, I can get what you're saying though. This isn't exactly what we consider "world class" here at fstoppers, but again, this is specific to Instagram.

Logan Sorenson's picture

Ture, instagram is fickle. Someone with no talent can have 200 - 200,000 followers, I just found this pick surprising is all. What do ya do? =) Good for her I guess.

Kevin Shoban's picture

All photo outlets online, even Fstoppers are over saturated with images. Some are great, some are good, some are ok, some are, eh, and some are just plain horrible (to each their own). Sometimes the ladder are glorified and photographers who know what makes a good image and work hard for them are stunned, scratching their heads. How can this be? I have no idea. As far as Stacy's Instagram feed goes, I'd have to agree and say the images are alright. Not amazing, but definitely not horrible. Are there much better photographers out in the Instagram world and on social media who have much more thought provoking images? Sure. To Stacy, I say congrats! To Time magazine, I ask, what made you choose Stacy amongst all the other talented photographers on Instagram?

Deleted Account's picture


Hmm. Only a few hundred likes, but 70K followers. That's a fishy ratio to me.

Brian Dowling's picture

Yah, I have about the same amount of followers and get about 2000 likes per photo and 3000 for a really good one.

Yeah, my business' account has 10k and get 300-550 usually for a decent shot.

Quality over quantity. I have far less followers (still fairly new), but likes equal 25-40% of my followers, which is a good engagement ratio.

Popularity means being good?

Travis Alex's picture

Yes it does, sadly. Social appointed authority is a huge down side of the generation of photography we are in.

Photography can be an art, but it can also be a medium to inform, to communicate. Stacy has obviously gained the trust of her subjects and shows Appalachia with honesty and without artifice. The photographer disappears in these images and the subject is everything; that's actually really hard to do.
A photograph doesn't have to be well composed or artistic to be compelling, and if you're looking for technical brilliance you're missing the point and putting artificial limits on what photography can be.

Cue the "I can do better than this" posts from a bunch of wanna-be losers.