Call and Response

Call and Response: John Kelso and Kaitlin Williams

  John Kelso . April 12, 2014. State Line Church in Muscadine, Clerburne County, Alabama.

John Kelso. April 12, 2014. State Line Church in Muscadine, Clerburne County, Alabama.

Aunt Theresa had led the State Line Baptist choir as long as memory serves. Everyone said she’d been called to serve the Lord since the day she’d been born. She could warble a hymn before she could talk. She wasn’t much for books or reading, but she studied the good Lord’s songs with a hunger. Theresa channeled the holy spirt tangled in the lines, pressed into the space between treble clef and bass. She knew a little something about the piano and harpsichord too, but her heart was firm in its devotion to the sung verse.  A godly woman of only 5 foot 3 her button down blouses were always carefully ironed, but never tucked into the waist of her blue jeans. She filled that 10 pew room with her heart. The depth of her voice commanded attention and she needn’t raise it.  Daddy told me the years had stolen from her. It was time, that careless bandit, that had robbed her of the perfect pitch of her youth. And maybe the filtered camels she favored too. But even with the rocks in her throat it was something holy to hear her there, in that little white church, on the edge of the Alabama/Georgia state line.

Kaitlin Williams. Daphne, Alabama.


Call and Response is a photo-literary exploration devoted to the relationship between photographs and words. Using photographs from the Looking at Appalachia project, writers are encouraged to respond narratively to a single image in 1,000 words or less. We hope to use this platform to expand our community and encourage collaboration between photographers and writers. Learn more about how to submit here.