Salt & Truth
Exhibition: May 4 – June 30, 2012
Shelby Lee Adams was born in 1950 in Hazard, a small town in eastern Kentucky. Although he grew up in the back seat of his father’s car, moving from place to place, he settled near Hot Spot, living with his grandparents while he attended high school. It was there, trapped between the worlds of country and town kids, that Adams found solace in art and photography books.
Then, in the mid 1960s, the Peace Corps and other government agencies descended on Appalachia to document the poverty sweeping the area. When a film crew visited his hometown, Adams took them to his meet his grandparents and his uncle, a country doctor. When the media described them as malnourished and poor, his friends and family felt betrayed. This devastated Adams, who felt he had misled the people he so dearly loved — an experience that profoundly impacted his life and launched a career in photography dedicated to the region.
For more than thirty years, Shelby Lee Adams has been photographing in Appalachia, visiting families within the mountain hollers. Salt & Truth is his fourth book dedicated to the people of this region, and is a testament to his commitment to present his friends and family with dignity and truth. Although he now lives in Massachusetts, Shelby Lee Adams’ heart is forever in Appalachia.