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Forest McMullin

Artist Statement Submitted 2019

Dark Roots (working title) is a series of portraits of people living along the backroads and small towns of Appalachia. In the late summer of 2019 I spent weeks on the road traveling wherever chance and whim took me. I stopped often, talking to people and learning about their lives. These photographs document those meetings and will be accompanied by brief stories driven by my conversations with them. The photographs aren’t intended to present a comprehensive picture of the region, but certain questions are asked and some observations can’t be avoided. Life in rural Appalachia isn’t easy, but the people I met were open and kind. They have dignity and deserve respect. Their heritage may often be tied to the dark history of coal, but they face the future with a resigned optimism. The 1858 Prize will allow me to continue this work.

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