“That spot right in the middle is where Gannaway comes in. Her work explores the complexities that exist in a place ‘that is seemingly so beautiful but also very gritty.'" -Wired Rawfile
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a visual essay exploring the changing character of a working-class seaside community. The work explores residents' relationship to the natural environment and an American neighborhood that has become a collision of class. It's the first book by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Preston Gannaway.
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 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.
(Initial support for this project was provided by The Virginian-Pilot.)
The book project
I now live in Oakland, California. This year, I have made four trips back to finish shooting the project. Those trips have all been self-funded and now I’m asking for support to help bring four years of photographs together into book form.
The book will be a hard-covered, signed and limited edition of 150. Your contributions will go toward the $18,000 needed to make this happen -- including editing, writing, design and printing costs.
Any money raised above and beyond the goal will go towards a future exhibition.
About Preston Gannaway
Preston Gannaway (b. 1977) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American documentary photographer. For more than 12 years, she has focused on intimate stories about American families and subcultures. She has worked as a staff photojournalist for The Virginian-Pilot, the Rocky Mountain News and the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire. Her story on the St. Pierre family, Remember Me, was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. Preston’s photographs have been exhibited both in the United States and abroad. She is a regular lecturer and has served as guest faculty in a variety of educational workshops. She is currently based in Oakland, California, accepting editorial and commercial work while pursuing long-term projects. www.prestongannaway.com
Recognition for the Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea project:
- Half King Photography Series, May 2014
- Roads and Kingdoms Q&A with Preston Gannaway
- CNN Photos, Change of Tides in Seaside City
- NPPA Photo Journal, Preston Gannaway's "Leap Of Faith"
- American Photography 29
- Gordon Parks Museum Center for Culture and Diversity, 3rd place and juried exhibition, 2013
- Wired Rawfile, Photos of Ocean Community Mix Grit and Beauty
- POYi, 2nd place, Best Photo Column, 2010
- NPPA Best of Photojournalism, Runner-up, Photojournalist of the Year, 2011
- The Image, Deconstructed, Spotlight of Preston Gannaway
- Burn Magazine
Risks and challenges
I don’t foresee any risks, but since the production is in its earliest stages, I ask for your patience regarding the book-making process. My plan is to have all the books printed and delivered by May 2014. Other rewards will ship out much sooner. Please contact me if you have any questions about the rewards.
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