The Friday inspiration by Gallery Carte Blanche
From the current show (Sept 14 - Oct 18)
‘A Survey of Documentary Styles in early 21st century photobooks’
70 Photobooks from The Indie Photobook Library and a selection of prints by 6 very talented photographers.
The amazing Matt Eich from his book Carry me Ohio.
Contact us for more info about his work, his prints or the last 2 copies of his artist book ‘Carry me Ohio’.
Carry me Ohio
Once known for its bounty of coal, salt, clay and timber, Southeastern Ohio was stripped of its resources by the mining corporations that thrived from the 1820s to the 1960s. When they had mined all that they could, the corporations left, leaving the communities with little but their cultural identity, which is a product of poverty.
For the past three years I have been documenting the people of this region as they attempt to recover from the aftermath of extractive industry. In photographing their daily life, I’ve explored the culture of the area, as well as on the crippling poverty that threatens to extinguish it. The foothills of Appalachia have been my home for the past five years. I met my wife here and our daughter was born here. Now, the same lack of opportunity that has plagued the residents of Southeastern Ohio for decades has forced us to move.
Rampant unemployment, poor housing conditions, drug abuse and sub-standard schools have left many families here in crisis. In 2006, Athens County, one of the poorest counties in the state, had a poverty rate of 27.4 percent and a per capita income of just $14,171. With the economic downturn of the United States these numbers have only gotten worse.
My purpose in creating these images is to show the effect of corporate greed in a forgotten region of the United States. Now is the time to look inward and investigate the issues that lurk below the surface within our country. It’s the first step to resolving them.
In this community abandoned by industry, it is not only the daily struggles but living without the opportunity for economic advancement which has a lasting emotional resonance. These images are my love song to Southeastern Ohio.
Matt Eich (b. 1986) is the oldest of four children and was home-schooled for eight years while growing up amid a myriad of animals in the peanut-farming town of Suffolk, Virginia. Watching his grandmother lose her battle with Alzheimer’s disease was a formative experience and a road trip with his grandfather cemented Matt’s early relationship with photography when he realized that an image could encapsulate the emotional resonance of a place.
In 2004 he began his studies in photojournalism at Ohio University and in 2006 he was named the 61st College Photographer of the Year. Matt helped to form the photographer’s cooperative LUCEO in 2007. His work has been exhibited internationally, including three solo shows in Houston, Portland and Norfolk. Upcoming solo exhibitions are scheduled for the Colorado Center for Photographic Art (2012), The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (2013) and The Gage Gallery (2014). His images are held in the permanent collections of The Portland Art Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and numerous private collections.
Matt now lives in Norfolk, Virginia with his family while compulsively documenting everything around him.