PDN Photo of the Day

Matt Eich’s Ohio Lovesong

The big themes are all present in Matt Eich’s book Carry Me Ohio (The Invisible Yoke vol. I), published recently by Sturm & Drang: sex, drugs, violence, birth, death, community, family, renewal, all acted out in the landscape of southeastern Ohio, where Eich lived a decade ago. (He self-published an earlier version of the book in 2010, and is planning three more volumes of The Invisible Yoke, to come out over the next four years). In muddy yards and dark bars, at kitchen tables and in trailers, Eich’s subjects smoke and talk, nap and drink, acting out a rich life with limited resources. An odd assortment of animals appear throughout—a zebra in a snowy backyard, ferrets at bath time, a troupe of all-white cats. Like his images of pristine woods and green grass, these connect Eich’s subjects to the cyles of the land. But nature and domestic life pause at the center of the book, in a full page spread showing the grey pit of a strip mine being worked by heavy machines. Writes Eich in the book, “Mining corporations stripped Appalachia of its resources from the 1820s to the 1960s. After taking all that they could, the corporations departed, leaving former boomtowns with little but their cultural identity.” His images record the results of that era, as residents “attempt to recover in the aftermath of extractive industry,” struggling through poverty to raise the next generation with the same strong, stubborn connection to this land. The book, he writes, “is my love song to Ohio.”

Related Stories:
A Place to Die
A Football Way of Life
Local Story: Matt Eich Finds Inspiration in His Hometown and Exhibits the Work There

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