LightSourceSF Presents: Preston Gannaway, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - Lightsource

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LightSourceSF Presents: Preston Gannaway, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

LightSource SF is pleased to present a show of works by artist Preston Gannaway, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

The show opening reception will be September 13th from 5-8PM. The exhibition is part of  the Bay Area Month of Photography and will run through September 30th. BAYMOP is a celebration of the art and craft of photography. Participating museums, galleries and cultural institutions will be producing exhibitions, showing top-tier photographers throughout a number of locations in the Bay Area.

‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ is a documentary project on the changing character of a working-class seaside community located along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. The work explores residents’ relationship to the natural environment and an American neighborhood that has become a collision of class.

“Wildness is a necessity.” –John Muir 

The genie and the sumo wrestler, 2009
from the series Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Seven and a half miles of beach stretch along the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk, Virginia. There are few, if any, spots in the Ocean View neighborhood where one can actually see the Atlantic. It’s a place of inherent contradictions. Vulnerable to weather’s every whim, the connection to the natural world — even if not embraced — can’t be denied. Once a rowdy playground for sailors, the area was rampant with drugs and prostitution. Over the decades, it’s been a siren call for transients and misfits. But low rent also provides a way out of the projects for working-class families. For them, the beach is free. And it’s always there. Ocean View is an area filled with pride, yet perpetually changing. Old cottages are being bulldozed to build million dollar homes. “We’re gonna reclaim some of this property, and make it what it should be,” said a woman who moved to the neighborhood’s affluent subdivision a few years ago. Competing desires are at the heart of this community. Gentrification is far from egalitarian. Though lower crime is an obvious upside, other effects of the changing demographics are far more murky. They are, as the saying goes, somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea.When I first moved to Ocean View in 2009, I found the beauty and complexity overwhelming and intoxicating. I felt compelled to photograph it. Having grown up in a homogenized part of the Old South, I’ve long been drawn to – and felt liberated by –difference. I had never seen a place so eclectic as Ocean View. I find its imperfections attractive,and perhaps more importantly, truthful. As a hairdresser here once put it to me, “A place so diverse must be forgiving.”

–Preston Gannaway

Twins, 2013
from the series Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Preston Gannaway (b. 1977) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning documentary photographer and artist. For nearly 20 years, she has focused on intimate stories about American families and marginalized communities while addressing themes such as gender identity, class and our relationship to the landscape. Born and raised in North Carolina, she now lives in Oakland, California. Gannaway is best known for her long-term projects like Remember Me, which chronicles a family coping with a parent’s terminal illness and was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. Her work has also been honored by Pictures of the Year International, Critical Mass and American Photography. She’s been supported by grants from the Getty Images and Chris Hondros Fund Award, The Documentary Project Fund, National Press Photographers Association and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. In 2018 she was invited to be a Light Work Artist in Residence. Her photographs have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in venues around the world including the Griffin Museum of Photography, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia and San Francisco International Airport Museum. Editorial clients include New York Times Magazine, California Sunday Magazine, Mother Jones, ESPN, and WIRED among others. Her first monograph, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, about the changing character of a seaside neighborhood along the Chesapeake Bay, was released in 2014. Gannaway’s photographs are held in both private and public collections, with recent acquisitions including Stanford University, The Do Good Fund and the Chrysler Museum of Art. She is a regular lecturer, often serving as guest faculty in educational workshops. In the spring of 2019, she will be a visiting professor at the University of Montana.

Watermelons, 2013
from the series Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

IG: @pgannawayphoto