Photography: Of Kentucky


Since I just spent the better part of a week down south, I thought I would make today's photography post southern related. I was searching for something to post about when I remembered a link that Tom sent to me about a photo essay featured in the New York Times called Of Kentucky. It features photography by Shelby Lee Adams (a good southern name, if I may say so myself) from the book Salt & Truth spotlighting the Kentucky countryside where his family resided for generations.

Then I had second thoughts. I’m a bit protective of the south and find that people who haven’t been there and experienced it for themselves typically don’t hold it in very high regard. Wherever I go, I’m always surprised at the general ignorance in people’s opinions of the South. Although you can’t deny the truths shown in this series of photographs (there it all is, documented in black and white) I’m hesitant to show this facet of southern life, lest I reinforce the stereotypes that so many harbor about southerners.

Then I read a quote from the book that changed my mind again. While I don't personally relate to the way of life shown in the photos, Adams says in the book, "when I was young I couldn't wait to leave Kentucky. Now I value every day when I return." I can certainly relate to a part of that statement. I didn't grow up waiting out the days to leave Alabama, but I certainly value every day that I get to spend there now.