Katy Grannan depicts the ‘boulevard phantoms’ of San Francisco and Los Angeles
Above Anonymous, Los Angeles, Boulevard 11, 2009. (©Katy Grannan)
Bare-chested and heavily tattooed, a man stands isolated by the purity of a white wall, his black belt is decorated by heavy metal studs and an Iron Cross, above it the embroidered words ‘Playboy’ can be read on his visible underwear; a woman in bright red trousers and matching vest stands clutching a large black-leather bag, her skin freckled by the harsh sun; elsewhere we encounter a blonde woman, her white shirt decorated in bird motif’s, her handbag embroidered with a swan design, and her short white skirt revealing the passing of time.
Over the period of three years, American Katy Grannan roamed the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco photographing these ‘boulevard phantoms’ — for her series Boulevard — people that live on the periphery of society; those that are to be found on any street, in any city, yet they go largely unnoticed. Working when the sun is at it’s highest, and photographing her subjects against the white stucco walls, she turns the city streets into an outdoor studio, in which she isolates the ‘hustlers, strutters, addicts and beauty queens,’ from the distraction of the city streets around them.
Grannan describes the sun as ‘ruthless and indiscriminate;’ revealing in unflinching detail the lives of her subjects, ‘…these ghosts, people left with nothing but aspiration and delusion. They thought it would be different here but reality is crueler and far lovelier.’
Boulevard is published by Fraenkel Gallery/Salon 94.