My Pie Town




In the spring of 1940, Russell Lee wrote to his boss, Roy Stryker, at the Farm Security Administration, proposing he spend several weeks shooting Pie Town, New Mexico, a small settlement of homesteaders near the state’s western border. Lee wanted to photograph there because he felt Pie Town represented the kind of hardy, small-town American community that was disappearing. His pictures of the town are tinged with his mythologising of a difficult way of life and the land-conquering patriotism that is at the heart of the American story. Seventy years later, Debbie Grossman (United States, 1977), drawn to a similar utopian ideal, made over Pie Town to mirror her fantasy. In this work, she re-imagined, revised and reconstructed a selection of Lee's beautifully photographed images. The archive she created resembles Lee's with an important difference – in Grossman’s Pie Town, the rag-tag community of homesteaders is populated exclusively by women.

Click here to view the original images from Russel Lee.