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Thread: Faces and Places of Appalachia

  1. #31

    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    It's nice to see these, they bring me back to my youth in North Carolina. I spent lots of time in the Appalachians, even went to Appalachian college. The southern mountains were mostly settled by Scotch-Irish that were given free rein in the wilderness because the Colonial Governors realized the hard fighters would be a good buffer against the Indians. The isolation and independent personality of mountain people are what largely created "the American personality" of the South - Faith, Family, and Fight for your honor. When the British were about to win the Revolution, and threatened to go from coastal, plantation Carolinas to the mountains to burn the rocky farms, Scotch-Irish all came out of the hills and beat them at Kings Mountain. It was a decisive victory, as was Cowpens. Then Guilford Courthouse was a "draw", but it drove Cornwallis back North, out of the South, where he eventually was surrounded by Americans on one side, and the French on the other, and surrendered. In every war America has had since, a large majority of officers and men were from the South. Oh, and in the Civil War? Many had no stake in it, it was seen as a coastal, landed gentry affair. Most didn't join up, but were forced. Or they joined when they needed to protect their mountain plots and cabins. Again, to good effect usually.
    Last edited by goamules; 29-Apr-2020 at 09:20.

  2. #32

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    As others have said, thank you for posting your photographs. They are of people and images most of us will never see or experience.

  3. #33

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    Seems like folks enjoy these images so I'll post some more then get into the gritty underbelly of Appalachia.

    When you do this kind of photography you start to realize what a sheltered life you've lead.

    The first image I Billie Lemming who was a well known serpent handler. He lost a finger, as seen in photo 2, to gangrene form a copperhead bite in church that he tried to ignore. He wound up having the finger amputated without anesthesia. He wouldn't allow any anesthetic he said or h would have gotten up and walked out of the dr's without any treatment. Billie also was known for drinking strychnine and red devil lye drain cleaner to confirm his faith. No tricks, a table spoon or two of lye in a half glass of water and down the hatch. Having a degree in chemistry and microbiology I don't know how anyone could survive this. ???? don't get this one!

    The next up is Liston who learned to make moonshine sitting on his dads knee at the age of five. He was arrested for making moonshine at age 12. Liston's father reportedly murdered 12 men and got away with it. His brother Don and he told me the stories and witnessing multiple murders including one of his father, Frank's, children. Two were murdered in his house because he owed Frank 25 cents. Frank shot the debtor with a shotgun, told his wife to undress and get into bed and Frank drug the body into the bedroom, tossed it on his wife and called the police and reported th man was raping his wife.

    Liston comes from a long line of serpent handles and was arrested for handling serpents in front of the Cocke county court house against court orders.

    Number 4 is my friend Jimmy confirming his faith with a propane torch. You can see the microphone in the side of the image where we were doing soundtracks for the Vanishing Appalachia show we did in 09.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Faith Bill Lemming  67.jpg   Faith Hands  66.jpg   Faith Liston Pack 55.jpg   Faith Morrow Torch 99.jpg  

  4. #34

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    A little more of the serpent handling.

    Here's the image of Jimmy putting his sock foot in a box with a copperhead, you can see the microphone here.

    The second shot is Liston and mathew Parton (cousin of Dolly) doing a river baptism.

    Number 3 is in Middlesboro KY and is in a typical box that the serpents are carried in. This is about the largest rattler I've ever seen.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Faith Morrow 98.jpg   Faith River Baptism 59.jpg   Faith Serpent 61.jpg   Faith Serpent 62.jpg  

  5. #35

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    A few more serpent handling and church shots.

    Photo one is the collection of serpent carriers at a two day revival in Middlesboro KY. Notice the odd looking snake ion the left, it's a cobra. I've also seen then handling puff adders that they call two steps. Get bitten, take two steps and drop dead. Cobras aren't much better as they spit.

    The 4th shot is the church in Middlesboro. the man was Jamie Coots and his wife and child. About two years ago Jamie was bitten by a rattler in church and didn't survive. He didn't live to see the next sunrise. I know quite a few that have survived multiple rattlesnake bites. One fellow I spoke with in Jolo West VA claimed to have been bitten 148 times. He was pretty much crippled from the bites but suffered a fatal heart attack rather than a fatal bite.

    When someone dies from a bite they believe it was just his time and God called him home. At the funeral people handle the serpent that killed him and refer to it as a fiery serpent.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Faith Serpents 56.jpg   Faith Serpents 57.jpg   Faith Singing 71.jpg   Serpents A 3.jpg  

  6. #36

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    No to part of the underbelly of Appalachia. Cock fighting is a big sport here. Hundreds of thousands of dollars ride on the winning birds. I know one man who won $148,000 in one day fighting 4 birds and still lives in a single wide trailer. Another man I know won two $68,000 fights.

    Interesting story here, We were allowed to photograph a fire provided we didn't show anything where anyone could be identified. After the fighting, two men took my sound man and I to a metal shed and told us to have a seat.Both of us were seriously concerned that we'd angered someone and that they might kill us. A few minutes later several man walked into the shed including our friend the preacher and another man came in with a jug of moonshine which we all shared. We figured we were OK and didn't think they'd waste good moonshine on two guys there were going to kill. The moonshine led to an afternoon of fun for all.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails cock fight 37.jpg   cock fight 38.jpg   cock fight 36.jpg   cock fight 40.jpg  

  7. #37

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    A couple of friends the raise fighting cocks. They're beautiful birds if you've never seen them. They're a cross between an African game cock and a grouse and are territorial and very aggressive. The losing birds wind up int the frying pan and some wind up as pets.

    Theres huge money in these birds. They can win hundreds of thousands of dollars and a couple of fertile eggs can fetch a few thousand dollars if they're the offering of champions.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails cock fight John 35.jpg   cock fight John 39.jpg   cock fight S Turner 34.jpg  

  8. #38

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    Now let me remind everyone I don't necessarily endorse what I photograph. Sometimes it's hard to separate ones emotions from what I photograph. The important thing is to never show emotion or any bias for or against the subject because some of the people I people I photograph are extremely dangerous and wouldn't hesitate to terminate a persons life.

    It's not easy getting access to these kinds of subjects. The people, for good reason, are distrustful and extremely closed to anyone they don't know well. I've gained access through connected people in the community and have a traceable history of what I do and show no bias in any way.

    The Klan started in Pulaski TN. There's a lot of history and worth a read for anyone that is curious about the origin. It sprang out of a time just after the civil war when law and order didn't exist in some area. Unfortunately it didn't take long to get out of hand. The good thing is there are very few of the folks now. There's little interest and most people have moved on and grown up. I was allowed in a private meeting about 11 years ago between the neo nazis and the Klan. They are financially broke and very few members. A few years ago this kind of meeting would never have happened as both groups are at opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum, The nazis are all about Hitler, Germany and the destruction of american life. The Klan sees its;f as a Christian??? organization and is very anti anything but America. The only thing they have in common is hate.

    Hope these don't offend.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails John 8.jpg   KKK 21.jpg   KKK burning cross.jpg   Ku Klux Klan 6.jpg  

  9. #39

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    I've photographed 5 of these events. It's really funny how they picture themselves. I one referred to the event a s a cross burning and was quickly informed that the significance of the lighting of the cross was to enlighten the world about Jesus????OK!

    Let me tell you this are difficult conditions to photograph under with film!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails KKK 4 members.jpg   KKK 24.jpg   Ku Klux Klan 3.jpg   KKK horseman.jpg  

  10. #40

    Re: Faces and Places of Appalachia

    Just a couple more then I'll move on.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails KKK  7-6 5 7x7.jpg   KKK Pulaski  2.jpg   woman KKK.jpg   old man KKK.jpg  

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