Documentary Photography

Nic Persinger / Looking At Appalachia

Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, and photographs taken at the time continued to define what Appalachia looks like for decades afterwards. Now one Appalachian photographer is working to modernize this vision of the region.

Roger May started a new project called Looking at Appalachia: 50 Years After the War on Poverty and He’s asking photographers from across the region to submit photos.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Photographs depicting life in West Virginia and other parts of Appalachia have long been the subject of controversy. One documentary photographer with roots in the state’s southern coal fields is seeking to change that through his work but also has motives far more personal.

“The pictures have this visual context of Appalachia, or at least the mountains. Even if you don’t even know what Appalachia is, you can see this rural, country, mountain way of life,” said documentary photographer Roger May as he spoke about his project Testify.