Photograph by Taryn Ferro
Kelsey Dillow is a collaborator at Whistlepig Farms, a collective of makers growing food and making art in the hollers outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. There she runs her business Kelsey Tiara Photo - which consists of a darkroom studio where she practices handmade photographic processes, specifically wet plate collodion (AKA tintypes). Dillow schedules portrait sessions at her studio, while also participating in various pop up events and collaborations throughout the region with her mobile tintype setup.
In her personal work, Dillow's studio practice explores connecting and dividing lines between religion, folklore, myth-making and Appalachian identity. Her work has been exhibited throughout the South Eastern region.
Kelsey is from Huntington, West Virginia. She received her Bachelors of Fine Art in Photography & Integrated Media from Ohio University in 2016, as well as minors in Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Museum Studies.
Storytelling, myth-making, folk magic and connection to the land are pillars of my art practice and represent a large part of Appalachian identity for me. By attempting to understand the complicated histories of this region, I seek to better understand my own experience.
I'm interested in the role that photography has played in defining what it means to be Appalachian. I utilize historic photographic processes in an attempt to redefine us, to tell our own stories. In a region where visual portrayals of stereotypes have permeated throughout history and shaped the lives of its people, it seems to me that there is power in creating our own representations.