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Photographer's Showcase: Aaron Blum -- Born and Raised

photo-eye is pleased to announce the newest addition to the Photographer's Showcase: Aaron Blum and his portfolio Born and Raised

Mon River, 2010 -- Aaron Blum
Shot in Aaron Blum's hometown in West Virginia, Born and Raised is a personal investigation of a community in the heart of Appalachia. It's an intentionally different view of this region than is typically depicted in films and television -- and strikingly unlike the image of Appalachia made by photographer Shelby Lee Adams. Blume's Appalachia is upper middle class, shot in vivid color and bathed in gorgeous golden light. Beautiful and somber, it is somehow a world where nothing feels out of place. Though the people and locations are real, this project is not a documentary. Instead of capturing life as he encountered it, Blum subtly arranged his scenes, adjusting reality to meet his unique and personal interpretation of the place, the people who live there, and how the two relate.

Like looking through a view-master, the scenes from this guided tour of Blum's hometown seem both detailed and oddly removed. Beautiful landscapes move into sensitive and emotional portraits, interspersed with a handful of tidy interiors. Blum establishes a resonate tone in these images, an ambiance that is both still and eerie. But in looking at these images something feels off -- we have encountered a view of this town carefully presented by the photographer. Blum describes his process and series like this:
The subjects in my photographs are my upper middle class family and friends in West Virginia. They play slightly exaggerated roles of themselves within sets I have constructed using their homes, furniture and objects. I do this to produce my interpretation of them and how I believe they fit into the landscape of Appalachia, and ultimately to assemble my conception of my home. The end product becomes a recreation of my design, a strand of life pulled from the whole never intended to be a complete representation. -- Aaron Blum
Though it may not be a complete representation, it is perhaps, an unreasonable expectation to put on a photo project, no matter what the photographer's intent is. Instead, we are left with a resounding sense of place, and maybe also a better sense of Blum through his personal expression of just what that place is like.

The Daughter of Morgan Morgan, 2010 -- Aaron Blum

Blum came to the Photographer's Showcase as a Jurors' Choice from Center's Project Competition. The jury was comprised of Simon Baker of Tate Modern, Alexa Becker of Kehrer Verlag and Christina Cahill of Editorial Reportage by Getty Images.

See Aaron Blum's Born and Raised portfolio on the Photographer's Showcase here.

For more information, please contact photo-eye Gallery Associate Director Anne Kelly by email or by calling the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202

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