"Tim Barnwell’s book The Face of Appalachia, Portraits from the Mountain Farm, is filled with so many great photographs (and I do mean great), that further editing would prove not only difficult, but painful. When an artist has as many remarkable images as he has, we can truly praise him. Great photographers make great photographs.
He approaches his subjects by getting to know them, gaining their trust before he photographs them. When they are ready they look directly into the camera. They strike their own pose, giving their portrait to him. To that end, he is supremely successful. And then, we hear their voices as they tell their stories. He puts them at ease. He draws them out. They didn’t know they were saying anything of consequence; it was just talk. Tim knew differently. What they say is of the utmost importance to him. Later he would shape it into prose.
Barnwell’s masterpiece might be the photograph of Peggy Harmon tending her dying aunt. They gaze into each other’s eyes, as the younger woman comforts the older, brushing the hair from her face. I’m reminded here of W. Eugene Smith’s famous photograph “Tomoko in her bath.” It has that same kind of power-the power of love.
A lot of Tim’s love has gone into this book–a love of the land and those who inhabit it. If these people are shaped by the land (and they are), Tim Barnwell grew out of the same earth. By immortalizing them, he has immortalized himself." (from Foreword to The Face of Appalachia)
-George A. Tice, photographer & author