ShatterZone - Up and Running

ShatterZone opened at the Pink Dog Creative Gallery in Asheville's River Arts District this past Friday, November 7. The reception was great fun with a mix of old friends and new acquaintances. It was a group effort. In addition to Randy and Hedi, Ralph, and Jamie who have been mentioned in previous posts, a special thank you goes out to Kelsey, Kate and Shu for their work at the opening, Lynn, Karen, Mark and Julie, artists at Pink Dog for their  timely assistance. And mostly I want to thank all of you who came out to see the work. The exhibit will be hanging until January 11, 2015, plenty of time to get down there and take a look.


Cheoah Webb Butchering Hogs, Dry Pond, Madison County, NC 2009.


I've attached a couple of articles about the show:

Asheville Citizen Times

Mountain Xpress





I-26 at Buckner Gap, Madison County, NC 2008.

ShatterZone will open on Friday, November 7, at the Pink Dog Creative Gallery in Asheville's River Arts District. The address is 348 Depot Street and the reception runs from 5-8 pm on the 7th. This weekend is also Gallery Stroll Weekend throughout the River Arts District and most artists and studios will be open to the public. I will be at Pink Dog Creative on both Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th, after 10:30 on both days, if you'd like to stop by. I hope you will.

The project, ShatterZone, has been in my head for a while now, but remains a work-in-progress. This exhibit has offered me the opportunity to bring together a large grouping of images that speaks to this theme. It's been valuable in moving the whole project forward. Thanks go out to Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer, the owners and operators of Pink Dog Creative. And my friend, Ralph Burns, who stepped in at a moment's notice to handle the multiple things that go into putting on even a small show. Additionally, for me personally, Ralph's long understanding of my work, his critical comments and thoughts, and enthusiastic support made the process easy and comfortable. Lastly, I cannot say enough about Jamie Paul, my associate for over four years who had a hand in every part of this project. It simply wouldn't have come together without him. 


Driving Lessons with Kate, PawPaw, Madison County, NC 2009.


Pink Dog Creative

I will be having an exhibit of photographs at the Pink Dog Creative Gallery at 348 Depot Street in Asheville's River Arts District. The exhibit will run from November 7, 2014 to January 11, 2015 with an opening reception on November 7 from 5-8 pm.

This is my first one-person exhibit in Asheville since my Sodom Laurel Album exhibit at the Asheville Art Museum in 2002 and I'm excited about showing new work from a new project. I want to thank Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer from Pink Dog Creative for this opportunity in their wonderful space. I also want to thank Ralph Burns, my long-time friend and mentor, for his work pulling this exhibit together. Finally, my assistant, Jamie Paul, has been his usual indispensable self who often leaves me wondering what I ever did before he came into my life.

I have included a short essay on the project. Galleries always want an artists statement, or introduction, or something explaining the work. Over the years I've responded to these requests in various and sundry ways. Today's version comes after the image.

Shu and Griffin Shaving Cheyenne, PawPaw, Madison County, NC 2012

These photographs are part of a work-in-progress titled ShatterZone, which is meant to accompany my two previous projects from Madison County – Sodom Laurel Album and The New Road.

Shatter zone is an 18th century geologic term that refers to an area of fissured or fractured rock. The phrase took on new meaning after World War II when political theorists began using it to denote borderlands. In this modern definition shatter zones become places of refuge from, and resistance to, capitalist economies, state rule, and social upheaval. Appalachia, and Madison County in particular, fit that definition.

Throughout its history, Madison has provided a haven for Native Americans, early Anglo settlers, Civil War resisters, Vietnam veterans, and refugees from the country’s cultural wars. The county’s present population includes long-term local families, young professionals, artists, retirees and back-to-the-landers. While the county is wired into the 21st century, many individuals understand it as a place where one can continue to resist modernity and be as “off the grid” as you want to be.

Madison County is not for everyone. It requires new skills, new tools, and new ways of interacting within your surroundings. It takes a rethinking of community and how one relates to it. And while that singular reason for being here – that idea of refuge – is almost universally felt throughout the county, there are also clear points of conflict. Zoning, land use, politics, religion, culture, language and many other beliefs and opinions offer potential for fracturing within the community, pitting newcomers against locals.

These photographs are not representative of the entirety of Madison County’s population or my work from the region. Most of the images are recent, while some are quite old, among my earliest from the county. These early images didn’t fit with other projects, but they are integral to this one, offering glimpses of a place that many continue to think of as unmapped, one of refuge and resistance.  

These are the dynamics of ShatterZone.

Catch Up

It’s been six weeks since I last wrote on this blog and I must admit I’ve enjoyed the break. There have been a number of intervening life issues that have made writing difficult, notably Leslie’s recent hip surgery and the temporary loss of all our help around the place, which has returned me to “chore” mode. It's served to remind me exactly how much work the young people do while staying with us. Most agree to let me photograph them, which is a bonus for sure. Muses come in many forms, from many directions. But these are flimsy excuses for not writing. So, call it writer’s block, or whatever, but the reality is I just haven’t felt like writing.


Ekho Hawk, one of our great helpers and an incredible model, PawPaw, Madison County, NC, 2013.

The break has allowed me the time to ponder some of the good things that have come my way over the last year. There were one-person exhibits at Wake Forest University and the Carrboro Arts Center and group shows at Duke University and the Madison County Arts Council. And, with the help of my irreplaceable assistant Jamie Paul, my work has been included in a number of online photography magazines and websites including,,,, and


Chickencatcher, Samson, Alabama, 1994  from  Way of Nature, Way of Grace     

Chickencatcher, Samson, Alabama, 1994

from Way of Nature, Way of Grace  

And beginning on November 8, six of my photographs will be included in an exhibit titled Way of Nature/Way of Grace, by the Asheville Area Arts Council, at Pink Dog Creative in Asheville’s River Arts District. This show has been organized by my old friend, Ralph Burns, and includes the work of a number of fine photographers – Tim Barnwell, Steve Mann, Brigid Burns, Mike Belleme, Erin Brethauer, Eric Tomberlin, and others, a total of eighteen artists. It’s an impressive group and I’m proud that Ralph chose one of my images for the exhibit announcement. The show explores the unsettled, and often unsettling, relationship between humans and other life on our planet.

I expect to return to the blog soon.