A collection of eleven photographic portfolios and stories about folks living in the Appalachian Mountains in the north western corner of North Carolina. Challenged by rural isolation, minimal education, poor diet and deep poverty these individuals displayed a surprising sense of pride while living with economic limitations, rural traditions and customs reaching back to the early 19th century, as they struggled to survive on a meager local economy. Many simply eked out a subsistence living relying on a “commodity food program” and modest government financial assistance.
The original essays were created in 1970. I returned to the region in 1975, 1985, 2000 and 2010 to revisit and photograph several of the individuals and families I had photographed years earlier. A series of full-scale video journals on these individual portfolios is currently in development. The first piece, entitled Debbie, is complete and can be accessed by viewing the Debbie portfolio.