(Photo credit: Matt Eich, Elvis from the series Carry Me Ohio)
You might remember photographer Matt Eich from the Center’s Consumption exhibition which included the image Double Tap. Continuing to examine the rippling effects of the recession, Carry Me Ohio is a concentrated vignette of rural American poverty and the associated culture. The series received the Community Awareness Award in the 66th Pictures of the Year International competition and earned Matt a nomination for Burn Magazine’s Emerging Photographer Grant 2010. Eich is also currently in the running for the Blurb Photography Book Now Award.
Once known for natural resources such as coal, salt, clay and timber, Southeastern Ohio has been stripped of its resources by extractive industries. When nothing was left the corporations vacated the region… leaving the remaining communities with little but their cultural identity: a product of poverty, which has forged their lifestyle in Appalachia. Communities that once struggled to get by can no longer make ends meet after the economic downturn in the United States. In 2006, Athens County had a poverty rate of 27.4 percent and had a median household income $14,000 lower than the national average.