Between 2008 and 2010, photographer Katy Grannan roamed the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco, making portraits of strangers whom many of us might unattentively pass by; people whose faces, bodies, clothing and gestures comprise the subject of this magnificent oversize, slipcased monograph from Fraenkel Gallery and Salon 94. Grannan characterizes what attracts her in these subjects as "a combination of personality, spirit and their actual, physical being." Grannan photographed her subjects in front of the white stucco walls so readily found in California, preferring a strong midday light which transforms her city streets into outdoor studios. The light in these photographs is thus both precise and indiscriminate, describing in high-pitched detail Grannan's hustlers, dreamers, outcasts, addicts and beauty queens, and delivering a powerful atmosphere of both defiant optimism and great hardship. "I want all of it to exist, messily and awkwardly, in the photographs," she has said. Reviewing Fraenkel Gallery's 2011 exhibition of these 38 photographs for The Huffington Post, Julie Henson described them as "teeming with information about class, race, gender and community in the simplest terms . . . what Boulevard reminds us is that no one is to be forgotten, and that the photograph holds unparalleled power to uncover the lines between reality and invention, allure and disgust."
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