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“That the poor are invisible is one of the most important things about them. They are not simply neglected and forgotten as in the old rhetoric of reform; what is much worse, they are not seen.” - Michael Harrington

Once known for its bounty of coal, salt, clay and timber, Southeastern Ohio was stripped of its resources by the mining corporations that thrived from the 1820s to the 1960s. When they had mined all that they could, the corporations left, leaving the communities with little but their cultural identity, which is a product of poverty.

For the past three years I have been documenting the people of this region as they attempt to recover from the aftermath of extractive industry. In photographing their daily life, I’ve explored the culture of the area, as well as on the crippling poverty that threatens to extinguish it. The foothills of Appalachia have been my home for the past five years. I met my wife here and our daughter was born here. Now, the same lack of opportunity that has plagued the residents of Southeastern Ohio for decades has forced us to move.

Rampant unemployment, poor housing conditions, drug abuse and sub-standard schools have left many families here in crisis. In 2006, Athens County, one of the poorest counties in the state, had a poverty rate of 27.4 percent and a per capita income of just $14,171. With the economic downturn of the United States these numbers have only gotten worse.

My purpose in creating these images is to show the effect of corporate greed in a forgotten region of the United States. Now is the time to look inward and investigate the issues that lurk below the surface within our country. It’s the first step to resolving them.

In this community abandoned by industry, it is not only the daily struggles but living without the opportunity for economic advancement which has a lasting emotional resonance. These images are my love song to Southeastern Ohio.


Acerca del autor

Matt Eich
matteich Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Matt Eich (b. 1986) is a freelance photographer whose work is rooted in memory, both personal and collective and he strives to approach every photograph with a sense of intimacy. While he has worked on five continents, Matt’s images focus on his own back yard, often exploring communities, the issues they face and their sense of identity. His clients include National Geographic, Mother Jones, TIME, AARP Bulletin, The FADER, Smithsonian and others. In 2009 Matt won POYi's Community Awareness Award, The Magenta Foundation's Bright Spark Award and was selected for the 16th World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. More recently he was awarded the HCP Juried Fellowship at the Houston Center For Photography, was named one of PDN's 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch, received the F25 Award for Concerned Photography and grants from National Geographic, NPPA and the Aaron Siskind Foundation. Matt and his family now live in Norfolk, Virginia where he works on long-term projects.

Fecha de publicación  03 de julio de 2010

Dimensiones  Vertical estándar  96 páginas Papel premium, acabado mate

Categoría  Arte y fotografía

Etiquetas  , , , , , ,

Comentarios (15)


spf781 dice

Remarkable work, plain and simple.

publicado 16 de ago. a las 07:56 PST


lisawiltse dice

Hey Matt,

You are a great storyteller.......I know this body of work well but really nice to see it in a book layout....and a big congrats on Magenta 2011!

publicado 30 de abr. a las 02:07 PST


will514lew dice

This book is utterly inspiring. You can really feel the people in the images. I haven't seen a photobook/essay this good in a while. Thank you Mr. Matt Eich. Beautiful book.

publicado 20 de oct. a las 08:43 PST


rjramos dice

Your work is beautiful and moving, and the book is inspiring..I love it. I found the book while browsing through the PBN submissions; not knowing it was a winner, and thinking "This should be a winner"...

publicado 26 de sep. a las 02:22 PST


Patrick100 dice

Out of all of the 2010 PBN winners... this book speaks to me the most. Every single image tells a story. THIS is AMERICA. Being from Missouri... these images are very familiar. Congrats on the recognition! If it had been up to me.... your book would have been #1!!! FOR SURE! : )

publicado 20 de sep. a las 12:59 PST


PublishJunky dice

This should definitely have won first prize ...

publicado 17 de sep. a las 02:09 PST


feralTales dice

Incredible and important work, Matt. In my heart you are the Grand Prize Winner without a doubt. Thank you for allowing us to see this forgotten area through your eyes.

publicado 16 de sep. a las 09:34 PST

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