Exploring the politics of depiction in the controversial photographs of Shelby Lee Adams.

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Feature Documentary

2002

Colour

52 + 72 minutesEnglish

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SHELBY LEE ADAMS’ APPALACHIA

THE TRUE MEANING OF PICTURES is a feature length documentary which addresses the problem of depiction in documentary photography by studying the occupational of American photographer Shelby Lee Adams.  More specifically, the film seeks to spfinish time with the subjects of Adam"s work-related, in order to get to understand them much better and also attend to the dispute and also response Adams" photographs geneprice, which involves the national politics of depiction. Both strands of the film will certainly combine to explore the larger - and also additionally self-reflexive - problem of whether it is feasible to "document" a community. The emotional intention is to compel viewers to move past voyeurism into empathy, so that by the end of the film they will certainly feel authentically linked to human being with whom they assume they have nothing in prevalent. DESCRIPTIONShelby Lee Adams takes photographs of Appalachian "hill world." He is exceptionally rare, if not distinct, among documentary photographers because he works via only one neighborhood, and also has been doing so for over thirty years. Adams was born and raised in Kentucky, although he was and also is of a various course than his topics. Adams" subjects virtually unanimously assistance his job-related, and assent out to it to such an degree that he has actually been able to continue his photography for 3 years. Yet his work geneprices too much levels of controversy, both in Kentucky and outside it. Appalachian people have actually been caricatured by mainstream America for generations . Adams is accused of perpetuating these stereokinds in his photographs, and of exploiting his subjects, using assorted questionable techniques to distort and theatricalize them and of presenting his work as documentary when it is not.Adams claims that he is showing points as they really are and that his job-related is a type of self portrait, and does not check out any kind of contradiction in asserting both all at once. He says that human being in America are ashamed of the truth that there are people living in abject poverty in a state which is wealthy in natural resources however has actually been stripped of them by speculators that with assorted corrupt practices made a great deal of money yet offered nopoint earlier to the community. Many of his subjects live without electrical energy or running water, in settings which have been devadeclared by coal mining techniques, sexpedition mining foremost among them. He claims that the new middle class of Kentucky are ashamed of this heritage of poverty and express their shame by denying its presence.Adams also clintends that his work is a form of exploring his own psyche and his very own past thriving up in the hills. He says that his finest photos are a mix of this self-exploration and an authentic record of the people he photographs. This feature-length film seeks to explore problems of depiction by examining Adams" photographs and getting to understand the world behind them. Tbelow are various eminent critics and also photographers who talk about and also argue around his job-related, debating the worries and analyzing certain photographs. Interreduced through this are the stories of a number of Adams" a lot of considerable topics. There"s the Napier family from Beehive that shed ten kids to violent deaths and also live without running water, warm, plumbing or electrical energy. Tright here are the followers of the Holiness religious beliefs that drink strychnine and manage rattle-snakes to prove their faith in God.

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There"s the Childers family, who have actually struggled for years to keep 3 developmentally tested youngsters at house.It is a truism that as soon as you get to understand someone, it is a lot more challenging to objectify or caricature them. The film spends time via a number of topics in order to try to expand also the endure of viewing their photographsWinner Best Arts Documentary Program, Geminis 2003Nominee Best Direction in a Documentary Program, Geminis 2003