In the tradition of Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank, an eye-opening portrait of the rise and fall of the American working class, and a shockingly intimate visual history of Troy, New York that arcs over five hundred years—from Henry Hudson to the industrial revolution to a group of contemporary young women as they grow, survive, and love.
For over a decade award-winning artist Brenda Kenneally has been photographing a small group of young women, their children, boyfriends, and families in Troy, New York—the old industrial town that Kenneally is from. She has chronicled the lives of two generations—their love and heartbreak, their births, their struggles with poverty, with education, and with each other, and their joy.
As Kenneally immerses herself in Troy, she excavates the history of the city—from the time the mastodon roamed the land to the arrival of Henry Hudson to the life of the young people there today. Troy was the model Industrial-Age city. The factories there made horseshoes, rail ties, and detachable shirt collars, and gave rise to a booming middle class. But when the factories closed, the middle-class disappeared, the downtown fell into disuse, and the production jobs were eventually replaced by the prison industrial complex.
Kenneally beautifully layers history into her work, using archival material and collages to depict the transformations of this quintessentially American city. The result is a profound, powerful, and intimate look at America, at poverty, at the shrinking middle class, and of people. Brenda Kenneally is the Dorothea Lange of our time, and this book is not only a significant work of art, but a persuasive and important work of sociology, infused with beauty and humanity.
About the Author
Brenda Ann Kenneally is a mother, documentarian and interdisciplinary artist living in Brooklyn, NY. Kenneally's obsession with capturing a core truth of the people she photographs earned her The W. Eugene Smith Award in 2000 for photographers who work in the tradition of the legendary Life magazine photographer. She has received awards and grants from organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation, New York State Council for the Arts, Open Society Foundation, Getty Images, Canon, Nikon, W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, Alicia Patterson Foundation, and Mother Jones. She currently teaches at The New School.