Book Release & VPLC 30th Anniversary: "Through Different Eyes: The Faces of Poverty in Virginia"

On the evening of May 28th, The Virginia Poverty Law Center will release an anniversary publication featuring the photography of Christopher Winton-Stahle's photographic series "The Folk of the Blue Ridge" in a coffee table style book titled "Through Different Eyes: The Faces of Poverty in Virginia". The publication is a compilation of many of the pieces that were featured in the original exhibit "Through Different Eyes: The Faces of Poverty in Virginia"that has been on tour with the Virginia Museum of Fine Art since 2006 and includes the work of Christopher Winton-Stahle, Susi Lawson, Scott Neville, and Scott Elmquist..

The Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC), an organization based in Richmond dedicated to advocating on behalf of low-income residents of the Commonwealth, will celebrate more than 30 years of dedicated service to Virginians at a reception at 6:30 p.m. on May 28, 2009 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Governor of the Commonwealth Timothy M. Kaine will speak at the event as will First Lady of the Commonwealth, Anne Holton, who will honor Jill A. Hanken, who has been an attorney with VPLC since its creation and Jack L. Harris, VPLC's first executive director. Jeffrey W. Allison, Curator of the exhibit and the Paul Mellon Collections at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, will also speak at the event.

Here's a little bit about the "Folk of the Blue Ridge" - a series by Christopher Winton-Stahle

The American heritage of the farming community is quickly disappearing and in its wake many folks in Southwestern Virginia struggle to support their families and carry on their way of life. Commercial Photographer, Christopher Winton-Stahle was raised in Carroll County, one of the poorest counties in the southwestern region of Virginia. In 2004 he began a personal photographic documentary about his family and the people of his hometown. What began as a personal journey for him to understand his own life there has grown into a cultural documentary of this small farming community and the beauty of both its people and their culture.

"As a native of this community, I have come to know nearly all the folks there. They nurture a strong faith that God will carry them through the hard times of life and that their family will be there for them when they slip and fall. They take care of their own and have few wants and needs beyond what God, their family, and the land can provide for them. This body of work has always been about the great strength and pride of these people. They are the working class poor of rural America. Their strong devotion to family, the importance of their faith in God, tradition, interdependence, and their connection to the land is engrained into their way of life and is representative of who they are. Monetarily they do not have much however, from what I have seen having been raised there, they know of wealth that transcends that of modern ideas of what wealth actually means. They are the "Folk of the Blue Ridge" and I am proud to say that I am a part of them."

*Christopher Winton-Stahle

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