Friday, October 3, 2008

Beyond the Woods

I was able to attend the opening of Beyond the Woods yesterday at Vassar College. I wish I could have stayed longer to really study the images. I'll try to get back.

Beyond the Woods is Spencer Ainsley’s collection of 31 black and white documentary photographs depicts the striking independence and self-reliance of inhabitants of the secluded Blue Ridge Mountain region of North Carolina in the late 1980s and early 1990s. If you recognize the name, it might be because he is Hudson Valley Connoisseur magazine’s photo director and director of Multimedia for Photography and Videography at the Poughkeepsie Journal. At left is one of the images in the exhibition: Recluse, 1991 -- Murph, 77, a hermit living near the remote and rugged community of Globe, North Carolina, peers out the front door of his license plate sided shack after flood waters washed it down a hillside. A one-time furniture factory worker, Murph lives alone with no electricity or running water. He chops firewood for a private hunting lodge in exchange for food.

Ainsley shot the series when he worked for the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group in Lenoir, NC. The exhibit runs through October 22 at the James W. Palmer III Gallery, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie. Gallery hours are Mondays-Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m; Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.

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