Ten years ago, Katy Grannan’s photograph of Jeff Stackhouse accompanied The Maximum Security Teenager, a Margaret Talbot article for The New York Times Magazine. Talbot’s long piece explored the growing number of teenagers serving time in adult prison facilities. Stackhouse was fifteen when the article appeared in 2000.

‘Jeff Stackhouse’, Chromogenic print, 2000. Published in New York Times Magazine, September 10, 2000. Collection of the artist, courtesy Greenberg, Van Doren Gallery, New York City; Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; Salon 94, New York City. © Katy Grannan

Katy Grannan is best known for her domestic and nude portraits of women (often non-models who Grannan connects with via newspaper ads), so this photograph of Stackhouse is a relative anomaly.

Grannan graduated as part of the Yale MFA grads taught by Gregory Crewdson and known affectionately and disparagingly in equal measure as ‘The Yale Girls’. The complaint has been that Crewdson engineered their early exposure on the art scene with the Another Girl, Another Planet exhibition.

THE BOY

Stackhouse’s portrait was taken on assignment but was also included in the Portraiture Now: Feature Photography exhibit (Nov. 2008-Sept.2009) at the National Portrait Gallery along with photographs by Jocelyn Lee, Ryan McGinley, Steve Pyke, Martin Schoeller, and Alec Soth. The exhibit deliberately selected photographers’ work “for publications such as the New Yorker, Esquire, and the New York Times Magazine, each bringing their distinctive “take” on contemporary portraiture to a broad audience.”

Despite lengthy internet searches, I cannot find any information on Jeff beyond the NYT Magazine piece and a 60 Minutes piece, both shortly after his incarceration. Being tried as an adult, Stackhouse potentially faced a 30 year sentence – incredible if you consider his transgression:

‘Jeff was under a kind of house arrest imposed by the juvenile court – he wasn’t supposed to leave home alone except to attend school. But on Feb. 23, 2000, he was arrested again. He and three other neighborhood kids his age had been ”play boxing,” as the police report termed it, at the school bus stop, and Jeff had given one of the boys a bloody lip. After the fight, the boy and his pals set out for Jeff’s house, where they called him out on the lawn, got him in a headlock and punched him. Jeff ran into the house, found an unloaded antique shotgun that his mother kept in her closet and brought it out to wave at the other kids, shouting, ”Get off my property!” The three boys headed home in a hurry. No one was hurt, and two of the three did not even want to press charges.’ (Source)

THE MAN

Jeff obviously had severe problems as a teenager – as Talbot’s article described – but he would be 25 years old now. The Arizona Department of Corrections returns no record of an inmate with his name. He may have been released, he may have not?

My point? I guess this is merely one of millions of images that have no (widely-distributed) follow up. The forlorn circumstances of Jeff’s experience in 2000 do not exist now; they could be better or worse, but the absence of knowing renders this decade old portrait virtually obsolete.

The portrait was taken as part of a story; as an anchor and human face to the description of changing, harsher laws for sentencing youth. These laws deal in years and so it is that Jeff’s story has unfolded over years. Only we don’t know the details.

I am curious what other events have transpired for Jeff, and mostly I am interested what Jeff thinks about his brief feature in the national media, the fact he has been on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery and if any of that ultimately mattered or changed things for him.

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More of Grannan’s work at Salon 94.