Aaron Blum Statement

Artist Statement
Outsiders have long since fictionalized the narrative surrounding Appalachia. As a resident of West Virginia I have always been aware of the views others hold of my home, and they have guided me to create my own version of life in the hills. My Appalachia is a granulated depiction based on the false impressions of others, my idealizations and personal experiences.

Light plays an important role in how I understand this place. The warm southern sun creates a glow that pours over the mountains, rivers and forests creating long shadows, dark recesses and thick fog and mist that blanket the landscape. I am sure that these inherencies of the hills provide a catalyst in the imaginations of those who misconceive Appalachia, but to me this unique quality of light provides a backdrop for the region that becomes both magnificent and eerie. It is its own character within the story of Appalachia.

The subjects in my photographs are my upper middle class family and friends in West Virginia. They play slightly exaggerated roles of themselves within sets I have constructed using their homes, furniture and objects. I do this to produce my interpretation of them and how I believe they fit into the landscape of Appalachia, and ultimately to assemble my conception of my home. The end product becomes a recreation of my design, a strand of life pulled from the whole never intended to be a complete representation.

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