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 will look 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.

This project is evolving and I value your input and feedback. Please stay tuned for updates.

Submission Guidelines
Submissions are not limited by style, however:

1. All work submitted must be the copyright of the photographer.

2. Photographs must be made in calendar year 2014.

3. Photographs must be made in one of the 13 state’s regions the Appalachian Regional Commission defines as Appalachian (here).

4. Submissions are open through 31 December 2014.

Please provide as much information as possible about each photograph, but at minimum the date, city, county, and state. Submissions must be in .JPG format, sized at 1500 pixels wide, 72ppi. File names must include your last name and the city and state where the photograph was made (example: maychattaorywv2.jpg). It is imperative that you follow these submission guidelines, otherwise the work will not be considered. Please include a link to your website.

Photographs will be indexed by the state in which they were made. You are not limited to submitting work about one state, however please be aware of the ARC map boundaries. To be clear, this project is not seeking poverty pictures. Will poverty be included? Yes. Poverty exists to be sure, however the purpose of this project extends far beyond that.

(Note: Please consider that by submitting images to this archive, you’re agreeing to the possibility of their inclusion in a group exhibit, catalog, book, etc. All photographers will be contacted to discuss details of any and all ideas for exhibition. All photographs remain the copyright of their creator.)

Email submissions to rogerdalemay@gmail.com.

Defining Appalachia
For the purpose of this project, Appalachia (map) is defined by the list of counties in each of the following states:

Alabama: Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, De Kalb, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Macon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Randolph, St. Clair, Shelby, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, and Winston.

Georgia: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Dawson, Douglas, Elbert, Fannin, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Heard, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, White, and Whitfield.

Kentucky: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Greenup, Harlan, Hart, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.

Maryland: Allegany, Garrett, and Washington.

Mississippi: Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Itawamba, Kemper, Lee, Lowndes, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Webster, Winston, and Yalobusha.

New York: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins.

North Carolina: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Davie, Forsyth, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, and Yancey.

Ohio: Adams, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mahoning, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington.

Pennsylvania: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, and Wyoming.

South Carolina: Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg.

Tennessee: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Cannon, Carter, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Cumberland, De Kalb, Fentress, Franklin, Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hawkins, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Lewis, Loudon, McMinn, Macon, Marion, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, Polk, Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, and White.

Virginia: Alleghany, Bath, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Carroll, Craig, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Henry, Highland, Lee, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Rockbridge, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe.

The following independent cities in Virginia are also within the Appalachian Region: Bristol, Buena Vista, Covington, Galax, Lexington, Martinsville, Norton, and Radford.

West VirginiaAll counties: Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood, and Wyoming.

(Map source: Appalachian Regional Commission | www.arc.gov)

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8 Responses to Looking at Appalachia | 50 Years After the War on Poverty

  1. Greta McDonough says:

    Hi, Roger,

    My friend, Marianne Worthington has forwarded this information to me and I am so interested in this project! I had a couple of questions—one (and I probably know the answer to this) is the 2014 date of the photos a hard an fast rule?

    I spent five days in Knott County for a Malcolm Wilson photo workshop in November 2013, and we traveled to some fascinating venues to shoot—I have a couple of images from this workshop that might worth considering, but they were taken in mid-November, last year.

    I have some time coming up when I might travel back to Knott County to re-shoot some of the images, but I wasn’t clear about the deadline for submission. I may have missed it in your information—can you remind me of the deadline?

    I commend you on this project—I am a social worker and I have traveled extensively throughout Central and Eastern Europe—and the images that I find that are not the stereotypical ones of garden variety “poverty” are always the most compelling and tell a broader story.

    There is even a phrase in social work about the images agencies use to solicit money and resources—”poverty porn.” When I first saw that phrase used it brought me up short and has challenged my own thinking about how to properly tell the stories of the clients we serve—how to show the truth through the prism of dignity and worth.

    Good on ya for this project!

    Greta McDonough, MSSW, LCSW

  2. Gina Schrader says:

    I would love to be involved in this project..
    Are you certain that ONLY photos from 2014 will be included?
    Part of our history in WV is with the musicians.. and many
    of the core musicians are now gone.. thus, no longer available to be included in a 2014 project.
    Just a thought.
    Also, I will contact other photographers .. and get as many involved in your project as possible.. Love to hear from you. Warmly, Gina

  3. […] can follow the evolution of the project, and view submission guidelines here, from May’s blog, Walk Your […]

  4. Bob Baker says:

    There is less abject poverty visible now; but there is a greater poverty of spirit now. Many, many people still live in substandard housing. People have some middle class trappings (TV’s, stereos, cell phones, etc.); but no real hope for a better life.

  5. Jean G says:

    I LOVE this initiative! My beautiful hometown, and all the others in this beautiful BEAUTIFUL part of America needs celebrated. Thank you! I WILL SPREAD THE WORD!

  6. Gabriel Warmack says:

    What if I don’t have a website?

  7. Hello, Roger!
    I am so pleased with the idea of this project. I am passing the in formation on to the people in my city. I wanted to contribute myself, but my Iphone’s pixels only go to 680 max. Is there another way I can participate?

  8. Mike Keller says:

    “4. Submissions are open through 31 December 2014.”

    I would suggest that the deadline for submission be extended about a week past that, to make sure that folks who take something really nice on the last night of the year can get it in to you.

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