Breakdowns on a Long Road Across America with @stacykranitz
To see more of Stacy’s photographs from the road, follow @stacykranitz on Instagram.
Stacy Kranitz (@stacykranitz) is an American photographer who was born in Kentucky, has a home in Los Angeles, and mostly lives on the road. She immerses herself in the lives of people that she forms enduring relationships with, blurring the lines between the professional and the personal, and the public and the private aspects of her own life. She explains her vision and her approach:
“At a very early age I was interested in documenting things. I kept elaborate journals with notes, photographs and documents glued inside. As I got older I wanted to make documentary films but it was a financial challenge and it seemed to take years to complete a project. I felt like I had to hide my work away from everyone until its completion and I did not like that. I started making photographs because they could be shared as individual images immediately and as part of a larger more involved project later. The photograph is more flexible in this way.
I’ve been living out of my car for years to make my work. I built a bed in the back. I will spend three or four months working on a project. I don’t sleep in my car all the time. I camp out and am often invited to stay in people’s homes. But the car functions as a safe and dependable space where I can stash equipment, food and clothing. I like to travel in the summer because the light is available until late in the evening. It is too hot to sit inside my car so I am forced to be outside engaging with strangers all the time and everyday.
I like to stay out as long as I can. I begin to slowly deteriorate the longer I am gone. Both the car and myself become physically more haggard as the weeks wear on. It sounds bad but this is the thing I want. I believe that I am not making really good work unless I am pushing myself into a very uncomfortable place. I don’t think I have gotten somewhere with the work unless I have pushed myself close to the brink of my own sanity. Breakdowns happen and then I pick up the pieces and continue on.
Right now I am working on a project about central Appalachia. This is the fifth year I have been working on it. I came to the region because I thought that if I went out and photographed each day, wandering amongst strangers and a strange land, I would be able to escape a darkness inside of myself. I wanted a personal connection to something. So I invented one through my experiences in a place I had not been before. I wanted to make something unknown familiar.
I make this work in an effort to question the world and myself. I make this work to push behind our desire to categorize people and their lives in terms of what is right and what is wrong. I make this work in an effort to embrace the murkiness in-between our notion of right and wrong. It is a process of constantly undoing everything I think I know. Building up an idea of a place and then tearing it apart.” –@stacykranitz