Katy Grannan
[Photographer, b. 1969, Arlington, Virginia, lives in Berkeley, California.]

 I’ve always thought the family album is really a fiction. This was my first realization that photographs lie. 
 I don’t think the goal should ever be reinvention, or novelty for its own sake—it’s about communicating your particular way of seeing and perceiving. 
 Despite all the pictures in the world, there’s so much that’s unseen—people, landscapes, entire regions, small gestures, overlooked details. 
 This is the way photography can be cruel... in the sense that it describes everything, even the things we are not necessarily aware we’re revealing. 
 I think [indications of vulnerability are] why so many portraits work when they're difficult: we believe we’re presenting ourselves one way, but the camera always reveals something more vulnerable, despite our best efforts. 
 I have a terror of things being nice and knowing what to expect. Making a photograph is a license to have experiences that I would not otherwise have. 
 …ultimately [my models’] desire to be seen and my desire to photograph them are the ingredients of something larger. The portrait that remains represents neither accurately. Our intentions, whatever they were, are recorded and warped and reinvented into something entirely unique. Every scar is beautiful, every smile disturbing and in that moment the portrait becomes its own truth. 
 There’s always been something illicit about the way I work. I’m photographing people I don’t know, when nobody else is home—there’s a necessary degree of secrecy. 
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