Portfolio Naples March 2017 - Page 41

Your photographs capture the climate of Appalachia so well. It is almost like its own country. How did you establish trust with the families? People proudly say to me, “You come back, others don’t.” My re- turn trips bring and help develop confidence and recognition to those I know. Many in the hollers do not receive visitors. It is the ground- edness, in these salt-of-the-earth people, that I love so much. ey with so little, make do, survive and flourish now for generations, they are a generous people. Honest and open with me because I do not betray their beliefs or embarrass them in my pictures and publi- cations. is is an earned trust developed from years of returning, and that returning keeps opening new doors for me. e isolation of the mountains makes it appear as another time and place, but our region is an integrated part of America. Why do you feel such a connection with the people of Appalachia? It’s my roots, my work is autobiographical in part, made in a com- plicated and diversified culture, often misunderstood. I’m always searching for a deeper understanding of my people, my family, my community and our place in the larger world. PORTFOLIO MAGAZINE 39