Looking At Appalachia

Group Photography Exhibition

When: November 3 - 17, 2015
Where: S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, Owen Hall
History Lecture: Tuesday, November 3, S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Artist Lecture: Friday, November 6, S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, 5:00 p.m.
Opening Reception: Friday, November 6, 6-8:00 p.m.
Gallery Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public

Looking At Appalachia is a national traveling group photography exhibition that includes 75 photographs from 51 individuals ranging from amateur to professional photographers from a 420 county area stretching from southern New York to northeast Mississippi.  The exhibition has garnered many accolades from publications including The New York Times and National Geographic.  

Included in this exhibition is current student George Etheredge.  It is rare and notable to have a student included in a show of this caliber, and as this is George's final semester at UNC Asheville, we are fortunate to have the show on campus.  For more information about George, please click here.

This project is designed and directed by Roger May and it is now in its second year.  May describes it as follows:

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared 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, this project looks at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty. Drawing from a diverse population of photographers within the region, this new crowdsourced image archive will serve as a reference that is defined by its people as opposed to political legislation.

Lecture, History of Photography in Appalachia: Tuesday, November 3, S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Professor Dan Pierce (History), Associate Professor Erica Abrams Locklear (Literature and Language), and George Etheredge (current UNC Asheville photography major)

We will discuss the history of stereotyping in Appalachia that dates to the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as the history of photography in the region. The mountains and its people have long been the subject of photographic attention, and during our talk we will discuss the benefits and perils of that attention.

Light refreshments will be served.  This event is sponsored by NEH Professorship Funds.

Artist Lecture: Friday, November 6, S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, 5:00 - 6:00 pm

Project designer and director Roger May will be joined by participating photographers Pat Jarrett, Megan King, George Etheredge, and Lou Murray, class of 2014, to discuss the how the project was conceived and the role of photography in visualizing Appalachia.

This event is sponsored by The Department of Art and Art History, NEH Professorship Funds, and the Department of Art and Art History Visiting Artist Committee.

Artist Lecture: Participating Artist Biographies

Project designer and director Roger May will be joined by participating photographers Pat Jarrett, Megan King, George Etheredge, and Lou Murray to discuss the how the project was conceived and the role of photography in visualizing Appalachia.

Roger May is the organizer of this exhibition, and his photographs, essays, and interviews have been published by The New York Times, National Geographic, The Oxford American, The Guardian, Le Monde diplomatique, THE WEEK, The Bitter Southerner, fototazo, BagNewsNotes, Appalachian Heritage, and others. In February 2014, he started the crowdsourced Looking at Appalachia | 50 Years After the War on Poverty project. May’s personal work and his writing about Appalachian photography have been widely published both nationally and internationally, and he has also published two books which include his photography and writing.  He regularly gives lectures related to this show, Appalachian photography, and the state of contemporary photography has also served as instructor for the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Pat Jarrett is a photographer and editor working with the Virginia Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. His work has been published by the Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian in London, National Public Radio and The Christian Science Monitor among others. He has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and CNN. His work has also been recognized by the Virginia News Photographers' Association and the Horizon Interactive Awards.

Megan King received her BFA from ETSU in 2013, and since that time she has had several solo and group exhibitions regionally focused on Hispanic Appalachia.  Megan has also taken part in many group exhibitions and her work has been published in POLITICO, Oxford American, NPR, The Daily Mail, and others.

George Etheridge is currently a BA candidate in photography at UNC Asheville.  His projects on the Asheville Peace Garden and his series Mountain Men have been published in The Asheville Citizen Times, Mountain Xpress, and Modern Farmer Magazine.  George is an intern with Black Mountain College Museum and works as a freelance photographer for The Asheville Citizen Times and the Mountain XPress.  George has been selected to attend the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop this year, the premiere photojournalism workshop, shaping its 100 young attendees into professional and award-winning photographers over a long weekend each year in upstate New York.

Lou Murrey graduated from UNC Asheville in 2013 with her BA in photography.  Earlier this year, Lou published The Blue Ridge Farm Book through the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.  Her work has been published in North Carolina Folklore Journal, The Sun, WNC Magazine, and All About Women Magazine.  Lou is a contributer for Looking At Appalachia, 2015.

This event is sponsored by NEH Professorship Funds and the Department of Art and Art History Visiting Artist Committee.