The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia

Posted by on 3. March 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events, Photography | Comments Off on The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia

Department of Art and History at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon is hosting a screening of an award-winning documentary film on the controversial and much celebrated documentary photographer Shelby Lee Adams.


The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia

Director: Jennifer Baichwal

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 (10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m)
at the Gordon Snelgrowe Gallery

Room 191 Murray Building, 3 Campus Drive, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

Film maker Jennifer Baichwal will discuss her work and answer questions from the audience after screening of the documentary (runtime: 52 min).

American environmental portrait photographer Shelby Lee Adams

Shelby Lee Adams (source: Wikipedia)

Shelby Lee Adams is an American environmental photographer and artist best known for his portraits of families in Appalachian region of  eastern Kentucky where he grew up. He has photographed rural Appalachian families living on the margins of society, since mid 1970s. His work has been published in three monographs: Appalachian Portraits (1993), Appalachian Legacy (1998), and Appalachian Lives (2003).

Adam’s work is controversial; some critics claim that his portrayal of the rural poor betrays the culture of the region, while others find his work to be finely nuanced and express the core of the society he is intimately familiar with.

Director Jennifer Baichwal follows Adams on his working visits to several families. Through interviews, photographs and the  photographer’s archival footage, we learn about his philosophy and approach to connecting with his subjects and creating intimate portraits that are stark and unquestionably powerful.

Baichwal’s  documentary was first shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, and at the Sundance Festival in 2003. It received enthusiastic reception by critics and the audiences alike, and won the Genie Award for Best Arts Documentary. Learn more about the film from the Canadian Film Encyclopedia.