Winter Break

My first blog post!
Just trying to keep everyone updated on my most recent work that doesn’t
make it on my website. These photos were actually taken over the Winter
Break when I made a week-long trip to Mingo County, West Virginia to
visit old friends and scout out possible story leads. Mingo
County was once a productive stretch of coal country, but recent
economic and environmental shifts as well as the mechanization of the
industry have left an economic vacuum with steadily rising unemployment
that is currently 13.4%. The highlights of the trip were
meeting folks in the area and talking about their way of life. I was
able to watch Kenneth-Ray Sturgill and his brother Clinton clean a hog, and on my last day in Kermit, WV, I
met Nicky. Nicky raises fighting cocks at his parents’
trailer as his main source of income. He invited me into his world and
explained much of the sport to me and showed off his hobby and
occupation. He fights in local fights and usually bets
between $50-$100 each fight. “There’s a real sportsmanship to this. It
is a real sport,“ Nicky explains.
The roosters are fitted with razor sharp spurs and injected with a
stimulant before each fight. The sport may understandably
seem cruel to some, but I enjoy photographing subjects that aren’t
always easy for my audience to connect to or comprehend. I hope to
continue this story with Nicky, and to show you all a glimpse of another
world tucked deep into the Appalachian Mountains.

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