Archive for August, 2009
“The only limitations in life are those we place onourselves”
When I was in high school, I took a photography class. I wasrecognized in the class and honored with my own display during open house! Duringthis open house I was proudly hanging around my photographs and overheard my teacher saythat I was talented, but would never make it as a pro. Hearing that sparked somethingin me that made me want to succeed. Despite the discouraging comment from a teacher I looked up too, I chose not to let someone else’sopinion of me determine my future.
Since high school, there have been many people that feel I don’t have what it takes to make it. The limitations they see in me are limited to their beliefs. The only true limitations are those that I choose to inflict upon myself.
This year one of images was selected as a winner of the Women In Photography Juried Competition. Enjoy the online winners exhibition.
Erin and Dante Salvetti
May 31, 2008
By Jan Ferris Heenan
The wedding proposal was intimate, or so Erin Kennedy thought when Dante Salvetti popped the question on the grounds of Meridian Winery in Paso Robles. Moments later, the two were surrounded by well-wishing relatives, secretly brought together by Salvetti to celebrate with a catered lunch and sparkling wine.
Kennedy and Salvetti met in 2006 while training as pharmaceutical sales reps. She worked in Orange County, he in Sacramento. The beginnings of a fabulous friendship inspired Salvetti to invite Kennedy to share a weekend in San Francisco. ”An amazing time” turned into weekly visits. Eventually Kennedy, who grew up in Atascadero, moved to Sacramento. She and Salvetti, raised in Auburn, were engaged the following year.
Kennedy describes herself as a low-maintenance bride trained on the bottom line, though she and Salvetti, both 27, secured renowned award-winning photographer Catherine Hall early on. Salvetti’s musician friends from college played at the church ceremony. The reception took place at Kennedy’s parents’ health club in Paso Robles, the lobby transformed into a stylish banquet space. Dancing took center stage. A choreographer and former San Diego Charger Girl, Kennedy put together a routine for herself and her father, mixing up Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. ”It was just relaxed and meaningful and really just perfect,” Kennedy says of the day. ”I loved everything.”
Before I went to Appalachia, I knew it was a land ravaged by the coal mining industry and rife with poverty. When I got there, I was struck by how this area of the United States seemed like an entirely different country. The people told me their stories of struggle and hardship, and how they survive in such an unwelcoming environment. According to the above Appalachian woman, the way to make a living is “To sell things you can’t buy at WalMart.”
A few years ago I received a Julia Dean scholarship that launched my adventures in Appalachia. Once there, I rented a Subaru and drove around, documenting everyday life. The images I captured show the lives of people who, quite honestly, seemed to be victims of natural resource industry. I could see how logging and mining stripped the land, how floods consumed towns, and how people eke out a living in this mountainous setting. Poverty is everywhere. Decaying equipment and cars are scattered about, left to rot with the people the industries have forgotten.
What I found fascinating were the huge economic shifts that occurred because of coal mining and logging. Appalachia was once a place for millionaires. In fact, the little town of Bramwell, West Virginia, once had the most millionaires per capita. People lived in mansions and enjoyed a life of luxury. Fast forward 100 years, and most coal mining companies are gone. People live in overcrowded houses. Children play in cars that haven’t run for years. But most surprising of all is that this landscape is only a few hours’ drive from several of our country’s major metropolitan areas.
I’m so thankful for the people of Appalachia who let me into their lives. Without their trust and support, I wouldn’t have been able to showcase such an unseen glimpse of American life.