True Images of Kentucky?

I have very mixed feelings about this [beautiful photo gallery]( by [Shelby Lee Adams]( in today’s NY Times Sunday Review. The photos, without question, show true aspects of Kentucky life: Appalachian Gothic, shirtless men and boys, hunting trophies, haphazard piles of junk, families who seem at once welcoming and off-putting. Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner come to mind, even though they were writers of the [Deep South](, which should never be confused with the [Upland South]( The photos are both beautiful and disturbing.

However, since this photo gallery appears in the **New York** Times, will the primary audience see anything *besides* rednecks and hillbillies? Won’t this gallery simply reinforce existing stereotypes of Kentucky among the East Coast elites? Will they have any insight at all as to how to interpret this quote from Adams that accompanies the gallery?

> When I was young, I couldn’t wait to leave Kentucky. Now, as I get older, I value every day when I return.

Many people know about Kentucky author and farmer **Wendell Berry**, but I wish more people knew about [Harlan Hubbard](, classically trained painter and musician, an essayist who inspired Berry and who, like Berry, chose to live off the land in rural Kentucky rather than among the cultural elite. Hubbard is someone who gets you a bit closer to the paradoxical land that is Kentucky.

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