Artist Statement Submitted 2019As it was Give(n) to Me is a collection of images that trace exploration and extraction in the Appalachian region of the United States.
In the 1960’s photographers descended on Appalachia to make images that would help unite us around the effort to improve the lives of a struggling people. Instead, they offered a simplistic image of poverty that has haunted Appalachia ever since.
How can the photographer represent a place where the medium has failed the people? I began by reckoning with the fact that I had come to Appalachia with a fantasy of what I wanted it to be. This fantasy undermined my desire to provide an objective portrayal because objectivity in documentary photography is its own kind of fantasy.
This work does not claim to be an authoritative portrayal. It does not illustrate a certain type of injustice in hopes of remedying it. Instead, I’ve come to Appalachia to create a new kind of narrative that acknowledges the ways representation fails to understand place.