Debbie Grossman

Born Rochester, NY, 1977

My Pie Town reworks and re-imagines a body of images originally photographed by Russell Lee for the United States Farm Security Administration in 1940. Using Photoshop to modify Lee's pictures, Grossman has created an imaginary, parallel world - a Pie Town populated exclusively by women.

In some of her revisions, she takes male bodies and renders them to look like masculine women; in others, she takes pairs of women, shifts their distance and body language, and brings them closer to create a sense of intimacy. In various images she has created women so masculine, or so ambiguously gendered, that they may not, for some viewers, clearly read as one gender or the other. Leaving a few images untouched, Grossman allows for another dimension and re-reading of Russell Lee's work.

Since the images of Lee's time in Pie Town are available in high resolution at the Library of Congress, Grossman was able to mimic Lee's pixel level. For Grossman, working with photographs and editing them closely in Photoshop is a kind of an intimate act. Zooming in and carving a feminine jaw out of a masculine one or manipulating the touch of one woman's hand on another's shoulder is a way for her to access and merge her desires with figures, which would have otherwise remained frozen in time. She's began to think of Photoshop itself as my medium - fascinated by the fact that it shares qualities with both photography and drawing. This work creates something that reads as a photograph, and is infinitely reproducible like a photograph, but at the same time depends heavily upon the intervention of her hand.

Loading ...