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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Photographer Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia

Adams has photographed Appalachian families since the mid-1970s. He had first encountered the poor families of the Appalachian mountains as a child, travelling around the area with his uncle, who was a doctor. His work has been published in three monographs: Appalachian Portraits (1993), Appalachian Legacy (1998), and Appalachian Lives (2003).

Adams was the subject of a documentary film by Jennifer Baichwal in 2002 - The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams's Appalachia. This was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, and at the Sundance Festival in 2003. The film critiques and defends Adams' method in photographing holler dwellers for his previously published books.

Advocate & push yourself measuring & expanding you’re inner acceptance of all humanity, this defines you and more importantly helps some unrecognized peoples to have a better place in this world. By simply being present, acknowledging equally & sharing with, we create and define better living for each other. ~ Shelby Lee Adams

Big thanks to my friend Stephanie McGinn for telling me about this Film and Shelby Lee Adams. She is a talented photographer. Check her work out here


  1. I used to live in west Nashville. When we drove a little farther out, we met plenty of people who lived just like this. Fascinating.

  2. The man holding the snake is my Uncle Ray Sturgill. To clarify one of the titles the photo had been captioned with (Blind man with snake) he WAS NOT blind. He could see, although not very well, he wasn't entirely blind.