Kranitz, Stacy



For the past twelve years, Stacy Kranitz has been making photographs in the Appalachian region of the United States in order to explore how photography can solidify or demystify stereotypes, and interpret memory and history in a region where the medium has failed to provide an equitable depiction of its people. Rather than reinforcing conventional views of Appalachia as a poverty-ridden region, or by selectively dwelling on positive aspects of the place and its people to offset problematic stereotypes, this work insists that each of these options are equally problematic ways of looking at place.

This work does not attempt to illustrate a certain type of injustice in the hope of remedying it. Instead, Kranitz has come to Appalachia to open up a new kind of narrative, one that examines our understanding of culture and place in a manner that is poised between notions of right and wrong.

As the narrative of As it Was Give(n) To Me unfolds, the book provides an intimate perspective on a region forced to transition away from coal extraction as its dominant source of economic stability, an opioid epidemic that has wreaked havoc on communities, and the role of Appalachia in a politically divided nation.


Working within the documentary tradition, Stacy Kranitz makes photographs that acknowledge the limits of photographic representation. Her images do not tell the “truth” but are honest about their inherent shortcomings, and thus reclaim these failures (exoticism, ambiguity, fetishization) as sympathetic equivalents in order to more forcefully convey the complexity and instability of the lives, places, and moments they depict.

Kranitz was born in Kentucky and currently lives in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Tennessee. She is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow. Additional awards include the Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography (2017), a Southern Documentary Fund Research and Development grant (2020), a Puffin Foundation grant (2022), and a Center for Documentation Fellowship (2023). Her work was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Discovery Award (2019). She has presented solo exhibitions of her photographs at the Diffusion Festival of Photography in Cardiff, Wales (2015), the Rencontres d’Arles in Arles, France, the Cortona on the Move festival in Cortona, Italy (2022) and the Tennessee Triennial (2023) Her photographs are in several public collections including the Harvard Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, and Duke Universities, Archive of Documentary Arts She works as an assignment photographer for publications including Time, National Geographic, the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Atlantic and Mother Jones. Her first monograph, As it Was Give(n) to Me, was published by Twin Palms in 2022. It was shortlisted for a Paris Photo - Aperture First Photobook Award.