Menu

Guide to the Looking at Appalachia photographs collection, 2014

Summary

These 75 black-and-white (11) and color (64) exhibit photographs were selected from 297 images collected online from the crowdsourced project, "Looking at Appalachia," directed by documentarian Roger May. They were taken by 51 photographers from a wide range of backgrounds and aesthetics, from a hobbyist retired coal miner to a young photojournalist working regularly for The New York Times. States represented include: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Subjects include portraits of people, rural landscapes, and farm and town life, with social events predominating. Sizes range from 14x23 to 16x20 inches, along with several 3.25 x 4.25 inch prints. Acquired by the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11036
Title
Looking at Appalachia photographs collection
Date
2014
Creator
May, Roger, 1975-
Extent
3 Linear Feet, 2 oversize boxes
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials are in English.

Collection Overview

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared an unconditional war on poverty in the United States, and nowhere was this war more photographed than Appalachia. A quick Google image search of “war on poverty” will yield several photographs of President Johnson on the porch of the Fletcher family home in Inez, Kentucky. Many of the War on Poverty photographs, whether intentional or not, became a visual definition of Appalachia. These images have often drawn from the poorest areas and people to gain support for the intended cause, but unjustly came to represent the entirety of the region while simultaneously perpetuating stereotypes.

In an attempt to explore the diversity of Appalachia and establish a visual counter point, the 75 prints in this exhibition collection look at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty.

In 2014, the Looking at Appalachia project received more than 2,000 submissions from a 420-county area from southern New York to northeast Mississippi. These submissions resulted in 297 photographs being selected for the online archive. Out of these, a selection of 75 images were chosen for a traveling exhibit, and were digitally printed, 11 in black-and-white, and 64 in color. They were taken by 51 photographers from a wide range of backgrounds and aesthetics, from a hobbyist retired coal miner to a young photojournalist working regularly for The New York Times. Subjects include portraits of people of all ages and backgrounds, rural landscapes, and farm and town life, with social events predominating. Sizes range from 14x23 to 16x20 inches; there are also several 3.25 x 4.25 inch prints.

The prints were first exhibited at the Spartanburg County Public Libraries Headquarters in Spartanburg, South Carolina, May 16-June 26, 2015, and traveled to approximately ten locations in 2015/2016.

Acquired by the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. There may be a 48-hour delay in obtaining these materials.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

Permission from the project director, Roger May, is required for any individual publication and commercial use of this collection.

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Looking at Appalachia Photographs Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Wes Frazer: Boy with mohawk, Jefferson County, Alabama, 2014 July 15
Box 1
Folder 3
Patrick Owens: Tallassee, Elmore County, Alabama, 2014 July 23
Box 2
Folder 1
Jared Ragland: My grandfather, Billy Cooke, looks into the home of his great-grandfather, James Thaddeus Cooke, in Hull, Walker County, Alabama, 2014 December 11
Box 2
Folder 3
Jared Ragland: Pink door, Sumiton, Walker County, Alabama, 2014 December 11
Box 2
Folder 1
Tamara Reynolds: Rack and Cue, Cullman, Cullman County, Alabama, 2014 December 11
Box 1
Folder 1
Amanda Greene: ASAP Christmas tree farm, Elbert County, Georgia, 2014 December 4
Box 1
Folder 2
Amanda Greene: Prescriptions, Bowman, Elbert County, Georgia, 2014 December 5
Box 2
Folder 3
Dobree Adams: Lost forever: Destroying the last fringe of the forest; active mine site, Perry County, Kentucky, 2014 June 21
Box 1
Folder 2
Cordis "Cuzz" Bishop: Spring trail ride, Knott County, Kentucky, 2014 May 3
Box 1
Folder 1
Gloria Baker Feinstein: Clouds, Royalton, Magoffin County, Kentucky, 2014 October 22
Box 2
Folder 4
Gloria Baker Feinstein: Greased pig race champion, Jackson, Breathitt County, Kentucky, 2014 October 2
Box 2
Folder 4
Gloria Baker Feinstein: Swings, Oil Springs, Johnson County, Kentucky, 2014 October 2
Box 2
Folder 4
Mary Hamilton: Cowboy collects money for Amvets Post 67, Stanton, Powell County, Kentucky, 2014 October 25
Box 1
Folder 3
Roger May: Tent revival, Goody, Pike County, Kentucky, 2014 July 19
Box 1
Folder 4
Meg Wilson: A box relaxes by rows of vegetables, Berea, Madison County, Kentucky, 2014 March 15
Box 2
Folder 4
Meg Wilson: The headless calf, Berea, Madison County, Kentucky, 2014 May 2
Box 2
Folder 4
Joshua Yospyn: A pickup basketball game at sunset, Berea, Madison County, Kentucky, 2014 October 20
Box 1
Folder 4
Mike Baker: Tavern on West Main Street, Frostburg, Allegany Couty, Maryland, 2014 September 5
Box 1
Folder 2
Joshua Yospyn: Two of three generations on a family turkey hunt, Kaysers Ridge, Garrett County, Maryland, 2014 April 12
Box 2
Folder 2
David Wharton: Holly Springs, Marshall County, Mississippi, 2014 May 7
Box 2
Folder 3
Rob Amberg: Kelsey herding sheep to the barn for worming, Paw Paw, Madison County, North Carolina, 2014 June 2
Box 1
Folder 3
George Etheredge: A boy sits on his basketball at Pisgah View, Asheville, Buncombe County, Kentucky, 2014 March 12
Box 1
Folder 1
George Etheredge: Carl Elijah Johnson, Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina, 2014 March 12
Box 1
Folder 1
Bob Tankersley: Exterior of Olive Hille Gospel Church, Franklin, Macon County, North Carolina, 2014 November 28
Box 1
Folder 2
Kristian Thacker: Snaggy Mountain Farm, Burnsville, Yancey County, North Carolina, 2014 April 25
Box 1
Folder 3
Sean Wysong: Dunkirk, Chautauqua County, New York, 2014 April 28
Box 2
Folder 3
Matthew Conboy: Darren and Clark, Bowl Bash at Skatopia, Rutland, Meigs County, Ohio, 2014 June 21
Box 1
Folder 2
Rebecca Kiger: Iraq war veteran, Jamboree in the Hills, Belmont, Belmont County, Ohio, 2014 July 19
Box 2
Folder 1
Maddie McGarvey: Boy with his makeshift bow and arrow, Carbondale, Athens County, Ohio, 2014 May 12
Box 1
Folder 2
Andrea Morales: Gracelyn McKee, 2, on her grandparents' couch, Glouster, Athens County, Ohio, 2014 September 4
Box 1
Folder 2
Andrea Morales: The Corning-Monroe Fall Festival queen, Jacksonville, Athens County, Ohio, 2014 September 3
Box 1
Folder 2
Lauren Pond: Young Mennonites socialize around a campfire, North Bloomfield, Trumbell County, Ohio, 2014 July 12
Box 2
Folder 3
Dennis Savage: Tag team wrestling at the Moonshine Festival, New Straitsville, Perry County, Ohio, 2014 May 23
Box 1
Folder 2
Michael Sherwin: Fishing, Muskingum River, Lowell, Washington County, Ohio, 2014 June 10
Box 2
Folder 1
Michael Sherwin: Red fox, James A. Rhodes Appalachian Highway, Albany, Athens County, Ohio, 2014 June 10
Box 2
Folder 1
Melissa Stallard: Leaning house, Campbell, Mahoning County, Ohio, 2014 July 8
Box 2
Folder 3
Brett Carlsen: Annual garage sale to benefit the scout troop, Athens, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, 2014 May 12
Box 1
Folder 2
Justin Hamel: Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, 2014 May 2
Box 2
Folder 4
Jake Reinhart: View from Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, 2014 April 1
Box 1
Folder 1
Stephen Speranza: Billboards near the Triboro Expressway, Wilmerging, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, 2014 August 1
Box 2
Folder 1
Stephen Speranza: Wilmerding youth hang out behind a vacant school, Wilmerding, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, 2014 March 15
Box 2
Folder 1
Elle Olivia Andersen: Brothers - Ralph and Robert, Pickens, Pickens County, South Carolina, 2014 November 4
Box 2
Folder 1
Elle Olivia Andersen: Mozelle on the porch of the hosue her father built, Pickens, Pickens County, South Carolina, 2014 September 28
Box 2
Folder 3
Michael McCraw: Heather, my cousin Kim's daughter, Cowpens, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, 2014 June 7
Box 2
Folder 1
Patrick Owens: Aaron Sepsey (left) and Ginia Worrell (right), Taylors, Greenville County, South Carolina, 2014 April 14 and November 13
Box 2
Folder 5
Nathan Armes: My grandfather's truck along the Clinch River, Kingston, Roane County, Tennessee, 2014 March 15
Box 1
Folder 1
Micah Cash: South Fork Holston River, Bristol, Sullivan County, Tennessee, 2014 August 30
Box 1
Folder 4
Megan G. King: Erwin, Unicoi County, Tennessee, 2014 March 25
Box 2
Folder 1
Megan G. King: Senor Porras, Erwin, Unicoi County, Tennessee, 2014 April 22
Box 2
Folder 1
John Edwin May: Masked fan, Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, 2014 June 7
Box 1
Folder 4
Katie Currid: Rachel Hartzler, 7, takes a break from playing tag, McDowell, Highland County, Virginia, 2014 March 8
Box 1
Folder 1
Chris Jackson: Justin and Cara walk along Falling Springs Falls, Covington, Alleghany County, Virginia, 2014 June 14
Box 1
Folder 1
Pat Jarrett: Members of the Virginia Flaggers attend Lee-Jackson Day, Lexington, Virginia, 2014 January 18
Box 1
Folder 2
Pat Jarrett: A four-year-old phone book sits in a telephone booth, Headwaters, Highland County, Virginia, 2014 July 6
Box 1
Folder 2
Joseph Shay: Family examining bass, Buena Vista, Virginia, 2014 April 4
Box 2
Folder 4
Josh Birnbaum: Lumberjack Arden Cogar Jr., West Hamlin, Lincoln County, West Virginia, 2014 July 20
Box 1
Folder 2
Aaron Blum: Bleeding hearts and fables, Wetzel County, West Virginia, 2014 January 2
Box 2
Folder 2
Ashley Hoffman: West Virginia 4th of July, Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, West Virginia, 2014 July 4
Box 1
Folder 3
Chris Jackson: A couple walk to their car on Peter Rabbit Drive, Ranson, Jefferson County, West Virginia, 2014 March 27
Box 2
Folder 2
Pat Jarrett: Annual deer hunt at the Green Bank Telescope, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank, Pocahontas County, West Virginia, 2014 October 17
Box 2
Folder 3
Rebecca Kiger: Olivia's 9th birthday, Moundsville, Marshall County, West Virginia, 2014 July 17
Box 1
Folder 4
Roger May: Tent revival sign, Baisden, Mingo County, West Virginia, 2014 August 2
Box 1
Folder 4
Roger May: Where Sarah learned to swim, Elgood, Mercer County, West Virginia, 2014 June 21
Box 1
Folder 4
Rachel Molenda: Freedom Industries, Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia, 2014 July 15
Box 1
Folder 4
Nic Persinger: Miner decal, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia, 2014 July 14
Box 2
Folder 4
Nic Persinger: Sabine in Nana's chair (top) and Nana at home (bottom), Richwood, Nicholas County, West Virginia, 2014 July 7
Box 2
Folder 5
Nic Persinger: Boy at swimming hole, Fortney's Mill, Preston County, West Virginia, 2014 June 26
Box 2
Folder 4
Alan Pittman: Bell-tower room, Valley Grove Methodist Church, Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia, 2014 March 22
Box 2
Folder 4
Ryan Stone: Ronald Sowder cuts Tom Fitzsimmons' hair, Hinton, Summers County, West Virginia, 2014 May 20
Box 1
Folder 1
Kristian Thacker: Looking up German Street, Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, West Virginia, 2014 July 30
Box 1
Folder 3
Mark Trent: Allie teases Peakay after waking up, Rainelle, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, 2014 January 6
Box 1
Folder 1
Pang Tubhirun: Blue Bend Recreational Area, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, 2014 June 6
Box 1
Folder 4
Rachel Yoke: Young goat subdued by John Stenger, West Milford, Harrison County, West Virginia, 2014 November 10
Box 1
Folder 1
 

Historical Note

The "Looking at Appalachia" project was launched in February 2014 and is directed by Roger May. The advisory board members are Rob Amberg, Pete Brook, John Edwin Mason, Joy Salyers, and Elaine McMillion Sheldon. The editorial board is comprised of Aaron Blum, Chris Fowler, Kate Fowler, Pat Jarrett, Megan King, Raymond Thompson, Jr., and Susan Worsham.

Roger May is an Appalachian American photographer currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was born in the Tug River Valley, located on the West Virginia and Kentucky state line, in the heart of what is commonly known as Hatfield and McCoy country. He served in the Army for seven years. His photographs and essays have been published in National Geographic, The Oxford American, The Guardian, THE WEEK, The Bitter Southerner, Appalachian Heritage, and others.

The exhibit images are the work of 51 photographers. Please refer to the project’s website for links to individual photographer biographies. Featured artists: Dobree Adams, Rob Amberg, Elle Olivia Andersen, Nathan Armes, Mike Baker, Josh Birnbaum, Cordis Bishop, Aaron Blum, Brett Carlsen, Micah Cash, Matthew Conboy, Katie Currid, George Etheredge, Gloria Baker Feinstein, Wes Frazer, Amanda Greene, Justin Hamel, Mary Hamilton, Ashley Hoffman, Chris Jackson, Pat Jarrett, Rebecca Kiger, Megan King, John Edwin May, Roger May, Michael McCraw, Maddie McGarvey, Rachel Molenda, Andrea Morales, Pat Owens, Nic Persinger, Alan Pittman, Lauren Pond, Jared Ragland, Tamara Reynolds, Jake Reinhart, Dennis Savage, Joseph Oliver Shay, Michael Sherwin, Stephen Speranza, Melissa Stallard, Ryan Stone, Bob Tankersley, Kristian Thacker, Mark Trent, Pang Tubhirun, Dave Wharton, Meg Wilson, Sean Wysong, Rachel Yoke, and Joshua Yospyn.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

Collection was acquired as a purchase by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan Lyon, 2015

Accession(s) represented in this collection guide: 2015-0071