PDN Photo of the Day

In Appalachia, Music and Faith and Time Gone By

Photographer Rachel Boillot, who was raised in Westchester County, New York, first travelled to the Cumberland Plateau, an area of east Tennessee, in June 2014. Her assignment was to tell a story about the region’s old-country music. She began by photographing the people who live there, nestled amid the Appalachian Mountains, one of the oldest ranges in the northern hemisphere.

Boillot writes: “What I learned was that there was a time when families played together at home for the sheer revelry of sounding out in celebration after a hard day’s work. They played thankfully for another day gone by. There was genuine soul in that. It was not a commercial endeavor; it was expression.” 

Moon Shine (Daylight, April 2019) is Boillot’s lyrical portrait of this robust mountain community in the heartland of America. Her nuanced photographs reveal a rich musical heritage, deep religious faith, and love of storytelling, all of which have formed the bedrock of the community since the first settlers arrived there in the mid-1700s. Most of the people Boillot documented are old. Unless the younger generation learns the music of their elders, the songs and traditions of this place are fading fast as time marches on.

Lisa Volpe, Associate Curator, Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, writes that while music is the catalyst for Boillot’s series, the major theme is time. “In the moonlit shadow of an ancient mountain range, time is measured by different metrics. Moon Shine celebrates this difference, safeguarding a past for the present and future.”

Moon Shine
By Rachel Boillot
Daylight, April 2019

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1 comment


1 Comment

  1. True and Bueatiful Photography! I love to see his expression in his whole demeanor and body language.

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