Thursday, 10 May 2012

UPDATED Stacy Kranitz and the Visual Depiction of Appalachia

We had a look recently at Stacy Kranitz's images of Appalachia on CNN's photography blog. The folks at CNN chose images from a much larger body of Kranitz's work for their blog entry.

The work as presented drew the attention of another photographer of Appalachia, Raleigh, NC-based Roger May, who found those choices disturbing.

He believes, and quite rightly, too, that CNN's choice of images perpetuates stereotypes about Appalachia -- and about the rest of the South, for that matter.

Their choice of Kranitz's images showed us the usual subjects -- snake-handlers, strippers, and members of the Klan -- not folks like the young woman in the image above.

He wrote about this on his blog, Walk Your Camera, in a piece called Perpetuating the Visual Myth of Appalachia, and wrote Kranitz for her reaction.

She agreed with him, fully, and together, they have engaged in a fascinating interchange, all of which is on May's blog.

The visual depiction of Appalachia -- and of the rest of the South -- is a subject of major concern to everyone photographing in the South.

The conversation going on here between May and Kranitz is well worth attending to, and joining, for that matter, if there's room for the rest of us in their dialogue.

UPDATES -- this story has attracted wide attention in the blogosphere.

There is an interview with Stacy Kranitz about the controversy on the Revivalist Blog, here.

 Joerg Colberg has picked it up on his CONSCIENTIOUS blog, here

Joerg Colberg says this:

 "I think there are two things we can learn from this.

"First, the internet can serve as a corrective when it comes to these kinds of events.

"Second, this story can also teach us a valuable lesson about stories that come from places outside of the US.

"It’s very important to keep the mechanisms that created the CNN story in mind when viewing, for example, photography produced in places like Africa."

AND, I'm sure there is more to come

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