The Appalachian mountain range stretches from New York state in the north, to Alabama and northeast Mississippi in the south. The mountains form the backbone of a region that has long been typecast as ‘America’s poorest’, but for photographer Roger May, who was born and raised there, there is far more to say about Appalachia than just poverty.
He began Looking at Appalachia, a crowd-sourced photography project, to help himself and others understand more about the area he calls home. In Huck’s Documentary Photography Special III he explained how contributions from a range of photographers have built a more complete picture of a much misunderstood and often misrepresented region of the United States.
We reached out to Roger and asked him to select five photographers to follow on Instagram whose feeds reveal an alternative perspective on rural American life.
Aaron Canipe – @aaroncanipe
Aaron’s work reminds me of the trained eye of a painter in pursuit of quiet moments one might ordinarily walk by and not notice. He’s a smart photographer with a deep love for the South who is also a fine bookmaker and educator. He’s where the rubber meets the road.
Nic Persinger – @nicpersinger
Nic and I grew up in different parts of West Virginia and are separated by a decade and a half in age, but I find familiarity in his work. I appreciate his eye for colour, angles, and religious motifs as well as his sense of humour. I appreciate folks who love making photographs but don’t take themselves too seriously.
Megan King – @mgking_
Filled with images of the ordinary in striking light, Megan’s feed is always a pleasure to look at. She has a way of making me feel like I’m looking over her shoulder and wishing I saw light the same way.
Salvador Barajas – @smbarajas
Salvador’s feed is one of the most thoughtful and poetic I follow. His feed is filled with quiet moments I can relate to and yet somehow takes me a little deeper. His images and captions challenge me to consider my own stereotypes.
Kristian Thacker – @kristian_thacker
Kristian’s Instagram feed always interests me because he’s a smart photographer. Not just in the sense of subject matter and composition, but how he leaves room to sit with an image and ask questions. I appreciate this even on a phone screen. He also reveals pieces of his process which I’m always interested in with photographers.
To find out more about Roger May’s Looking at Appalachia project, grab a copy of Huck’s Documentary Photography Special III here.