The Face of Appalachia





The culmination of over 25 years of work, the book features photographs taken with a vintage 4x5 inch view camera, showcasing scenes of farming, hunting, religious activities, people working with oxen and horses, carrying on traditional handcrafts, and of daily life. Combining beautiful landscapes with tender portraits, it provides a stunning picture of a vanishing way of life on the remote mountain farms of rural Appalachia. Over 100 black and white photographs, printed in elegant duotone reproductions, are combined with oral history conversations with the subjects, to give an insight into the daily lives, religious activities, family histories, and dreams of the hard working, proud, and resourceful men and women of this unique area of the country. 

The rugged and remote mountains of the southern Appalachian region have served to isolate and preserve the last vestiges of life as it once was throughout rural America. Transcending their geographical origins, these photographs capture this way of life and are a reminder of what it was once like on farms across this country. The Face of Appalachia provides a look at how previous generations lived, with seemingly little change, in the decades before modern industry, roads, communication, and technology transformed the country. By documenting this disappearing way of life, Mr. Barnwell has captured the essence, beauty, and rugged character of the rural landscape and its people, for this and the future generations.

The 160 page book includes a Preface by historian Sam Gray and an Introduction by photographer George A. Tice. The Face of Appalachia is available in 3 editions editions: Trade Hardback (sold out from publisher as of 10-18), Limited Edition, and Special Edition. Signed copies are available through Barnwell Photography. A traveling exhibit, containing thirty images and accompanying text panels from this book, is available to galleries, schools, and museums

“When I was a girl we raised sheep to make clothing, cows for milk, chickens for eggs, and hogs to slaughter. We kept the eggs and milk in the creek to keep them cold. We grew all our food on the farm. There weren’t no stores nearby then, not even a mill to grind the wheat for a long time. What you didn’t grow or raise you didn’t have. We used to take a wooden sled to town about once a year to get coffee and sugar and such, and we traded for that. My mother would spin wool to make yarn for our clothes. Us kids would sit and pull burrs out for her. I did that up until I was growed, and then I learned how to spin." -Kate Church (Oral History excerpt)