Debbie Grossman - My Pie Town

"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, I have created an imaginary, parallel world - a Pie Town populated exclusively by women."

My Pie Town

In the spring of 1940, Russell Lee wrote to his boss at the Farm Security Administration, Roy Stryker, proposing to spend several weeks shooting Pie Town, New Mexico, a small settlement of homesteaders near the western edge of the state. Lee wanted to photograph there because he felt Pie Town represented a kind of hardy, small town community that was disappearing in America. His pictures of the town are tinged with his mythologizing of a difficult way of life and the land-conquering kind of patriotism that's a foundation of the American story. I share Lee's nostalgia. Seventy years later, I am drawn to a similar utopian ideal. I'm filled with a longing to connect with that time and the people in Lee’s images – I've had a lifelong obsession with frontier life. I fantasize about locating myself within those pictures and that time. So in an attempt to make the history I wish was real, I have made over Pie Town to mirror my fantasy (...)