Roaming the streets of a metropolitan area, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the scale of urban architecture and the number of individuals that occupying the space. So often, the individual gets lost in the equation; attention is turned to the sum over the parts. For the past three years, San Francisco-based photographer Katy Grannan has walked the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco observing what many choose to overlook — subjects for whom life has been hard and despair has been plenty. Working within the grand tradition of portraiture, Grannan has selected a wide range of subjects for her recent body of work, Boulevard, which is currently on view at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. Grannan turns the city into her studio, shooting each subject on a variety of white surfaces found on location. Relying only on the strong California light and a stark white backdrop, the physicality of her chosen subjects open a myriad of narrative possibilities that simultaneously evoke hardship and optimism. I recently spoke with the artist about the series, Boulevard, her upcoming film project, The Believers, and the shared history between the viewer and her subjects.