Two Days in Appalachia: Photography or Poverty Porn?

Jul 29, 2015

Photo from Bruce Gilden's essay "Two Days in Appalachia" in Vice.
Credit Bruce Gilden, Vice

"Two Days in Appalachia," the recent photo essay in Vice, has generated a social media firestorm for how it portrays folks in eastern Kentucky.

Did Vice send photographer Bruce Gilden to Appalachia to make us look like freaks? And how does this feed into existing stereotypes of people here?

We invited photographer Roger May on The Front Porch podcast to get his take. May is a native of West Virginia and the creator of the critically-acclaimed website, Looking at Appalachia.

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The Front Porch is Scott Finn of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Rick Wilson of the American Friends Service Committee and Laurie Lin of the Charleston Daily Mail. Our theme music is from the group Little Sparrow.

You can hear The Front Porch most Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting or find other episodes here.

Hey, we want YOU to join us on The Front Porch. Do you have ideas for guests we should interview or tough topics to tackle? Send me an e-mail tosfinn@wvpublic.org or send us a tweet – I’m @radiofinn, Laurie’s @wvpundette and Rick is @elcabrero – that’s “the Goat Herder” in Spanish, in case you’re wondering.