The In-Between Land
The string of communities that run along a sixty mile stretch of Southern Ohio’s State Route 93 are uniquely connected, in that they share a common bond of history and geographical proximity. They are separate in culture from the Till Plains to the northwest and the more affluent river towns to the southeast. This land in-between once made its fortune in iron, timber, coal and salt that helped fuel the American Industrial Revolution. But this land not only connects these communities to one another, it also separates them from the world around them.
In general, North Central Appalachia is not often considered a depiction of American prosperity; however, the deep cultural history that helps to define this segment of the United States is marked by an impassioned grit, determination and a pride for qualities such as independence and self-reliance. The quiet hills and fertile fields require a certain resourcefulness, as well as an ability to withstand incessant economic hardship in order to survive.
The In-Between Land is a photographic essay that attempts to document the people of Jackson, Vinton and Lawrence counties in Southern Ohio in a way that highlights important and often overlooked qualities, whilst not avoiding struggles and imperfections. It attempts to contextualize common stereotypes with larger realities and offer an opportunity for self-reflection for those who call these communities their home. It is also offers insight about these people and their way of life to outsiders.
I was raised in the small town of Jackson, Ohio, and I would like to dedicate this project to the people of The In-Between Land. Thank you for your open hearts and open doors. May you continue to see the richness in your communities and in your way of life.