Shelby Lee Adams


Contemporary Photographers


Tonight, I watched the movie The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia, which, as the title indicates, is about Shelby Lee Adams’ photos of people living in Appalachia. With a subject matter like the one Shelby Lee Adams is showing it’s probably not surprising that critics have accused him of exploiting the people he is portraying. Is he? It’s interesting to watch the movie - find a very nice article about the problem here - simply because it confronts you, as the viewer, with your own preconceptions: Why is it bad to show mentally retarded people living in Appalachia? Because it is stereotypical per se or because it re-inforces your own stereotypes?