Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Graduate student uses photography to capture Hispanic culture in rural East Tennessee

The Hispanic population in Tennessee rose from 34,077 in the 1980 census to 228,846 in 2010, and the state's Hispanic share of the population rose from 2.2 percent in 2000 to 4.6 percent in 2010, an increase of 134 percent, the third-highest growth rate in the country, according to a study by the University of Tennessee. Ten percent of all Tennessee births are Hispanic, and it's expected that within the next three to five years, 10 percent of the state's kindergarten students will be Hispanic.

Photographer Megan King, who will graduate from East Tennessee State University in December with a BFA in photography and a BA in Spanish, received a grant in 2012 to work on a project called "Hispanic Appalachia," to capture visual images of Hispanics in East Tennessee. She writes on her website: "By photographing businesses, people, churches, homes and other aspects of the community, I am attempting to show the importance of diversity in this historically conservative region of the United States. In the photographs Hispanic culture is represented by vibrant colors, food, clothes and often decorations. These qualities create a visual juxtaposition to this region's cultural heritage; however, it is important to see that the Hispanic and Appalachian cultures can blend in a nearly indiscernible manner." To see King's photos click here.

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