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Beyond the Picture: Matt Brown

Matt Brown . June 21, 2018. Barbara. Kingsport, Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Matt Brown. June 21, 2018. Barbara. Kingsport, Sullivan County, Tennessee.

I met Barbara while photographing on Broadstreet in downtown Kingsport, Tennessee last summer. She was walking home from work and had diverted her usual route across the street to ask me what I was up to. "What you up to?" is a question I've heard a lot in Kingsport, as I've been photographing in and around the city since I got my first camera as a junior in high school. The second question I hear is, "Do you want to take my picture?" 

Through my long term projects of photographing the region, I've come to believe that most people want to be seen, want to be heard, and mostly want to be understood. They want to show off their cars, their dogs, their new tattoos. I didn't ask Barbara to pose, I just asked her to stand comfortably. She put down her lipstick-marked styrofoam cup, crossed her arms and gave an assured look towards the sun.    

In a media environment of increasing white noise and confirmation bias, it pays to take long looks at the narratives - and the pictures - that mold our perceptions of a region. It pays to slow down and try to understand a people and a place, even if takes a lifetime and a lot of film. It pays to answer the question, "Do you want to take my picture?" with an emphatic "Yes". 

- Matt Brown | @hausofbaba


Beyond the Picture explores the behind-the-scenes moments of photographs in the Looking at Appalachia collection as told by the photographers who made them.

The New Looking at Appalachia Exhibit Premieres at the Massillon Museum

On Saturday, March 23, 2019, the new Looking at Appalachia exhibit premiered at the Massillon Museum in conjunction with their NEA Big Read Program kickoff. The exhibit will be open until June 2, 2019 in the Aultman Health Foundation Gallery.

The exhibit consists of 64 photographs made by 45 photographers between 2015 - 2017. The first Looking at Appalachia exhibit was mounted in 2015 and traveled to 13 locations until 2018. For a complete list of past exhibits, click here.

The current exhibit includes work by Nathan Armes, Sandy Berry, Josh Birnbaum, Sarah Boal, Rachel Boillot, Matthew Brown, Paul Chambers, Ashleigh Coleman, Rob Culpepper, Cameron Davidson, Ed DeWitt, Tiffany Dodd, George Etheredge, Annelise Ferry, Michelle Frankfurter, Wes Frazer, Amanda Greene, Celia Hamby, Justin Hamel, Joy Hart, Pat Jarrett, Mark Johnson, John Kelso, Nate Larson, Zane Logan, William Major, Pete Marovich, Roger May, Michaela Miller, Lou Murrey, Celina Odeh, Pat Owens, Lauren Pond, Jared Ragland, Cris Ritchie, Laura Saunders, Dennis Savage, Martin Seelig, Stephanie Strasburg, Kristian Thacker, David Torke, Pang Tubhirun, Forest Walingford, Andrew Wertz, and Meg Wilson.

If your gallery, museum, library, or cultural institution would like to host an exhibit, artist talk, or panel discussion, please contact Roger May.

Stay tuned for more exhibit dates.