Sunday, March 13, 2011

new meaning of "shooting in RAW"

post #24
      I've just returned from a 48 hour 45th reunion!  The occasion was a first for this gathering of community action workers from the sixties known collectively as the Appalachian Volunteers, or AVs.  I had been a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) assigned to the AVs.  Friday afternoon fifty or so of us picked up where we left off so long ago.  It was fun, exhilarating, and fascinating. We explored our lives, deeds and the issues then and since then, with some I sure don't remember doing thats thrown in. We met in conjunction with the annual Appalachian Studies Conference held this year (2011) at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY.
Loyal Jones spoke Friday at the reception honoring Appalachian legend Homer Ledford.  Of course Loyal is also a legend!  This photo had its challenges -- the sculpture behind him being a major one.  But with some timing luck and by shifting my location, I am very happy with the result.

          The main thing I ended up photographing were the people at the workshops I wanted to attend myself.  So the following photos show others like me who worked in Appalachia in the late sixties, plus Appalachian scholars and young people working now on important issues like mountaintop removal mining, clean energy, and the devastation caused by Oxycontin and other addictions.
      I took these photos while sitting in those workshops listening.  Being able to record what I see in addition to what I hear makes me feel an increased connection to what I am learning.  It didn't hurt that the light was great!  And no one else was there to do it like I could do it.  (This is sounding perilously like "I couldn't help myself.")
     So what do I mean by "shooting in RAW"?   Well, raw may be primarily a digital term but, during this weekend, just being part of this reunion brought my emotions close to the surface.  I don't think I could have done these particular images without loving our shared bond. It's appropriate, perhaps, that shooting raw means having access to all the levels and information a photo provides.

waiting and waiting to ask a question in the workshop about Oxycontin
Sarah, articulate and passionate young activist, daughter of an AV

Dave Walls, former executive director of the AVs, scholar and professor
Mike Kline, troubadour, former AV staff, living our history through its music 
Bill and Claudia, former AVs in West Virginia, now working in DC
     Note: what ended up rising from the weekend's energy was a commitment for older activists to support the younger ones, and for younger ones to reach out to older ones.  Every one of us is needed.   And we need each other.

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