I come from a long line of Southern Appalachian storytellers. I grew up listening to my family's stories, to the songs belted out on the lawn at family reunions or hummed over a skillet of sausage gravy as the women cooked. I always felt drawn to know what my grandparents and their parents knew; the songs, the stories, the history of it all. So maybe it was a given that I'd become a writer and photographer out of a need to tell those stories I grew up with in a way that was true to them but from my own point of view. There's still nothing I like better than to sit down with a guitar and someone who can sing high harmony and share some of those old mountain standards. But as an artist, I feel the need to reach out beyond the porch full of people who already know that culture as I do and maybe invite some newcomers to take a peek. In the end, that's all my work is: a peek into a culture whose richness and diversity and beautiful dramas are often misunderstood or misrepresented. It's a complicated thing to try and capture your culture in a poem or a photo, but it's a fine thing to try.