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April 4, 2024 Artist Talk

Preston Gannaway in Conversation with Shana Lopes, PhD., Assistant Curator of Photography at SFMOMA


Preston Gannaway is a Pulitzer Prize-winning documentary photographer and artist whose work centers around intimate narratives of American communities and landscapes. Born and raised in North Carolina, she is based in Sonoma County, California. Gannaway was a Light Work Artist in Residence in 2018 and a Pollner Distinguished Professor at the University of Montana in 2019; she regularly does commissions for publications and brands such as ESPN, Airbnb, and The New York Times Magazine. Her work is held in collections including the High Museum of Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Stanford University. 

Artist Acknowledgement:

This exhibition was sponsored in part by Wildfire Media, Inc, a 501c3 based in Oregon. Built to tell powerful stories, Wildfire creates and supports communication campaigns and documentary packages on nonprofit, civic, and humanitarian issues.

The artist wishes to thank Wildfire Media and two individual supporters, whose generosity helped make this exhibition possible. 

NYT OPINION: “I Spent 17 Years Photograhing One Family’s Grief & Growth”

Exhibition Statement

The power of photography as a storytelling medium is well-represented in Gannaway's ongoing series Remember Me, now in its 19th year. From intimate portraits to alluring landscapes to everyday photography, Gannaway takes viewers on an emotional journey with images that feel, at times, voyeuristic and confronting. The use of color as a thread weaving through time is subtle yet observable. This series began in 2006 as a story for a New Hampshire newspaper, Concord Monitor, which followed the St. Pierre family as they navigated through the processes of illness, death and grief. What could have ended with the death of the mother evolved into the beginning of a longitudinal visual narrative focusing on the coming of age of the youngest child, a 4-year old boy. The honesty and rawness come through consistently in images spanning nearly two decades; there is no glossing over the rough edges or overly leading sentimental shots. Gannaway is not telling a tale about a motherless boy in a place far, far away; she is showing us a universally-relatable human story of life, love and remembrance.  Photos from the beginning of Remember Me earned Preston Gannaway the Pulitzer Prize in Featured Photography in 2008. 

Portions of proceeds from the sale of works featured in this show will go to support further documentary projects by photographer Preston Gannaway.


Renny Pritikin's Review of
Remember Me

"Gannaway shows the pain this family endured and transcended without ever lapsing into sentimentality. She leaves us concerned for Elijah’s future, but she also gives us hope, indicating with those sun-soaked cherry blossoms that life, even through tragedy, barely pauses before moving on."

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