Shelby Lee Adams in the March 2010 Issue of Smithsonian Magazine

"The Home Funeral"
© Shelby Lee Adams, 1990

Photographer and writer Shelby Lee Adams is profiled in this month's issue of Smithsonian Magazine. The story is titled "Capturing Appalachia's 'Mountain People". Adams' photograph of a country home funeral is a jumping off point to introduce his style and discuss his background. Adams' history and current relationship with his subjects could possibly change how a viewer interprets his images, so it is essential that context is explored.

The way Adams unites two distinct scenes on opposite sides of a wall in "The Home Funeral" is striking. Within the image, the multiple generations represented give the impression of the strength of family, and a kind of ease with death. An image like this makes me ask questions I can't necessarily answer, and creates a bit of wonder as I try to match up the story in my head with the information given by Adams.