Travelling Through Coal Creek
The images in this publication were produced as part of a photographic commission to create a series of pictures, from an angle, which illustrates a different perspective to other image-makers and documentarians visiting the area. Being a foreigner, but coming from a simular background in many respects, it was felt that I would portray the Appalachian people with feelings of sensitivity and respect.
The hillbilly, interbreeding stereotypical approach has attracted the interest of many film makers, writers, poets and indeed, photographers. But this is a visual fix that I intended to avoid. As I travelled through the southern Appalachian states with my wife, films such as Deliverance were not a true resemblance of the people we were to meet. The images in this book reflect my interpretation of warm hearted, friendly and inviting communities, far away from the dramatisation of that dreadful film.
Coming from a coal mining area in Great Britain, it seemed a natural progression within my practice to continue an industrial theme. My goal was to research and explore how similar regions of Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia had been affected by the diminishing use of coal exploration; in some parts, to a degree of extinction. This was the case in the south Wales valleys and many comparisons can be drawn. A similarity that soon came to fruition, was the warm welcome Angela and I received as we travelled around coal communities. Our first visit was in 1997 and the world had not yet become familiar with social media; people were intrigued as to where we came from and they loved our Welsh accents. One of the main questions they asked was "do yo-all know the queen?"
Warning : all photographs are strictly copyright Roger Tiley. Illegal use without permission can be tracked by an ID number. An invoice will be issued.