To break with the stereotypes and stigma usually associated with life in East Tennessee, Matthew Jessie embarked upon a large format photographic project to document the reality of his region. The ongoing result is titled ‘Its Hills and Valleys’.
For the Tennessee native, capturing his home is an attempt to counter the way in which it has been negatively typecast—offering a different narrative by photographing the people and places in a way that feels contemporary and real. He depicts the region by concentrating on the periphery rather than the center; photographing subject matter not always captured by those interested in the east of the state. While much of the understanding of East Tennessee and Appalachia is bound to negative stereotypes, Jessie is working to broaden what is presented about the area from which he is from.
All images © Matthew Jessie