Hannah Taylor
MFA Candidate



Artist Statement

Blue-Collar Backroads is centered around my experience of growing up in rural Appalachia. I was raised in a blue-collar family, in a home nestled in a town of only 500 residents. Our nearest grocery store was half an hour away and the hospital was even further. My family lived in what appeared to be an average home, but in reality, we were deeply impacted by poverty. These conditions created a strange dichotomy between our outward appearance and reality which left me deeply curious about the socioeconomic climate of Appalachia, and where I fit into it.

Rural communities are connected by a rich network of backroads. I grew up on backroads. My parents grew up on backroads. My grandparents grew up on backroads. When I was a kid, my mother and I would ritualistically drive them when we needed to decompress or find a small adventure. Somehow, they were simultaneously utilitarian and therapeutic. I carried this ritual into adulthood, and I am now incorporating it into my process of making photographs.

This body of work is a documentation of the various states of growth and decay within rural Appalachian communities and the economic crisis that many blue-collar families are facing. Simultaneously, the work creates a space for me to meditate on the relationship between place and identity.