September 1, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Wealth and Poverty | Looking at Appalachia with Photographer Roger May, Sept. 25

Roger May, black and white photo

Roger May

The Wealth & Poverty theme presents the 2017 fall public lecture by Roger May on “Looking at Appalachia” on Monday, Sept. 25, from 3-4 p.m. at Walter Hall Rotunda.

May is an Appalachian American photographer and writer based in Charleston, WV. He was born in the Tug River Valley, located on the West Virginia and Kentucky state line, in the heart of Hatfield and McCoy country. His photographs, essays, and interviews have been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, National Geographic, The Oxford American, Le Monde diplomatique, Photo District News, and others. In February 2014, he started the crowd-sourced Looking at Appalachia project. May speaks about his work, about the visual representation of Appalachia, and photographs on commission. He blogs at

Many of the War on Poverty photographs, whether intentional or not, became a visual definition of Appalachia. These images have often drawn from the poorest areas and people to gain support for the intended cause, but unjustly came to represent the entirety of the region while simultaneously perpetuating stereotypes. In an attempt to explore the diversity of Appalachia and establish a visual counter point, the Looking at Appalachia project looks at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty. Drawing from a diverse population of photographers within the region, this new crowd-sourced image archive serves as a reference that is defined by its people as opposed to political legislation.

This lecture is cosponsored by the Appalachian Rural Health Institute and Wealth and Poverty theme. The event is open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, contact Yeong Kim at


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