Friends and neighbors: Shelby Lee Adams was recently awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, in its in its eighty-sixth year, to assist research and artistic creation.
An large excerpt from Adams’ artist’s statement:
Every summer, traveling through the mountains photographing, I am somehow able to renew and relive my childhood… The eyes of my subjects reveal a kindness and curiosity, and their acceptance of me is gratifying. For me, this is rejuvenation of the spirit of time past, and I am better for the experience each time it happens. These portraits are, in a way, self-portraits that represent a long autobiographical exploration of creativity, imagination, vision, repulsion, and salvation. My greatest fear as a photographer is to look into the eyes of my subject and not see my own reflection.
My work has been an artist search for a deeper understanding of my heritage and myself, using photography as a medium and the Appalachian people as collaborators with their own desires to communicate. I hope, too, that viewers will see in these photographs something of the abiding strength and resourcefulness and dignity of the mountain people.
In the fall of 1994 ICP exhibited: Appalachian Portraits: Photographs by Shelby Lee Adams
Shelby’s blog can be seen here.