Susan Lipper’s photographic series Grapevine was shot over four years from 1988 to 1992. The series takes its name from Grapevine Branch in West Virginia, a small community where Susan found herself for a while after graduating the Yale photography programme.
During her time living in the close-knit community, Susan began interviewing and photographing the residents with her medium-format camera. The resulting images are a cross between documentary photography with more constructed images.
These complex narratives Susan has created with her sitters play to the characteristics of the rural community with themes of alcohol, guns, hunting are all present. Initially the main draw for Susan was to capture male-female relationships with the traditional values and roles upheld by the community being in contrast to what she’d been exposed to before. But from spending time with the small town, it became more of a portrait on the community as a whole.
At the time, Susan believed the portrayal of these kind of communities had simply reemphasised stereotypical ideas of the rural south, with “hillbillies” and the like. While her series does still convey some of these clichés, Susan also challenges this impression by collaborating with her subjects to create the images.
From hard-hitting portrayals of the deer hunting season to other snapshots of family life, Susan’s series is compelling and at times uncomfortable. Playing to our “fears” and perceptions, the photographer captures a picture of Grapevine Branch that still resonates today.
Grapevine is currently on show at Higher Pictures, New York until 14 January 2017.
- Chaz Bundick talks us through the new digitally personable Company website
- Animator Frances Haszard’s gender neutral breakup story
- Photographer Norman Behrendt depicts Turkey’s majestic mosques
- Explore North Korean graphic ephemera in Phaidon’s new book
- “Have a process you can apply to any situation, space or time”: what we learned from Converse’s Lovejoy Art Benefit
- Standards Manual return with catalogue of 400 objects relating to New York City Transit
- Polaroid’s creative director Danny Pemberton introduces new brand Polaroid Originals
- Artist Dominique Pétrin on creating her very own domestic product
- Universal Everything animate emotive wallpapers for new iPhone devices
- Herburg Weiland’s meticulous editorial designs are typographically-driven
- The Visual History of Type author Paul McNeil selects and dissects his six favourite faces
- Breakdown Press’ Joe Kessler picks out his most-treasured books