"Here I Am: Making Photographs with Malcolm Wilson"
Renowned Appalachian Photographer Profiled in BCM Documentary
A pioneer in digital photography, Malcolm Wilson documents the lives, culture and indomitable spirit of people living, playing, working and surviving in Kentucky’s rugged Central Appalachian Mountains. His gritty black and white photographs, accompanied by conversations with his subjects, tell the stories of the diverse inhabitants of Appalachia, from sooty-faced coal miners to sun-scorched farmers to children clutching musical instruments.
According to Jason French, BCM's curator of collections, the documentary stems from an exhibit that was originally planned at the museum this past fall in conjunction with FotoFocus 2020 Biennial. "Unfortunately, the epidemic forced the cancellation of FotoFocus and our exhibit," French said. "But we didn’t want to give up the opportunityshare Malcolm's incredible work with our friends in Northern Kentucky. So we decided to produce a video that would profile his work."
French, accompanied by BCM's social media specialist and videographer Mary Jane Calderon, followed Wilson to his hometown in Eastern Kentucky, tagging along as he photographed his subjects and discussed his philosophy about his art.
"I have this thing," Wilson says in the video. "I don't take photographs, I make photographs. I don’t want to take. I want to make and I want to give." What Malcolm Wilson gives is an insider's perspective on Appalachia, focusing his lens on the people and their daily lives.
“Photographers are chauffeurs for other people’s eyes,” Wilson says. “It is my responsibility as an Appalachian photographer to drive eyes to the light of truth.”