West Virginians swept the field at the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center's Re-Imaging Appalachia photography competition with their beautiful depictions of life in Appalachia. First-place winner Michele Coleman from Parkersburg, WV, described her photo (at left) this way:
"I think the image portrays several emotions. One would be that she is rugged yet refined, simple yet elegant. And the overall picture does not reinforce negative stereotypes," she said.
The press release from the Appalachian Center describes a tough voting process requring a tie-breaking vote. If you look through the finalists' photos, it's easy to see why. The purpose of the competition was to capture Appalachia beyond the stereotypes, and show the region as it truly is – a complex and diverse place. “The Appalachian Region is made up of beautiful mountains, but the people who call those mountains home matter just as much,” said Zak Pence, communications director for the Appalachian Center. “The judges and I think the winners of this contest understood that, and they captured it in their photos.”
You can see the second- and third-place photos by clicking "Read More" below.
The second-place winner, Toril Lavender from Huntington, WV, captured a moment from "The Nutcracker Ballet" in Huntington.
Third-place winner Troy Lilly, from Cross Lanes, WV, shows the beauty of Blackwater Falls State Park.
Congratulations to the winners, the finalists, and all involved!