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NOTES: Photo taken March 31, 2022, by Water Light at Grandview, part of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in southern West Virginia. Water Light is an Appalachian musician, herbalist, and poet. She describes herself as “a mystic who devotes her presence to peace, children, healing, and love.”
NOTES: Photo taken March 2022, outside Grindstone Coffeeology in Huntington, WV. I haven’t quite accorded myself the accolade of being a ‘photographer,’ as I’ve shipped out on assignments with the likes of pre-China Fritz Hoffmann, plus having a world-class brother-shooter in David Imbrogno (whose globetrotting retrospective site will soon be live). But an iPhone sure comes in handy when a kid’s chasing bubbles. I hereby deem myself a professional ‘iPhoneagrapher.’ ~ Douglas John Imbrogno
NOTES: Was awaiting a meetup recently in a fabulous, new vegan restaurant in Charleston WV, The Loopy Leaf, when the shade of Norman Rockwell drifted in. Norm commandeered my iPhone, and snapped this shot. Turned out the guy reading the paper was the guy I was supposed to meet for a climate action chat. Norman says ‘Hey!’
NOTES: This come-hither shot of Mother Nature’s craftwork was taken by Al Peery of peeryphoto.com, at the top of Mount Porte Crayon in the Roaring Plains Wilderness of Monongahela National Forest, in northern Randolph County. “I took the photo on April 14th on a backpacking adventure. Here’s some scoop on the mountain,” says Al, whose autumnal photography was seen in our November 2021 issue.
NOTES: Rafael Barker is one of West Virginia’s finest photographers of people. The Charleston WV-based portrait photographer says this of this work: “I seek to capture the beauty in all things — to uplift those around me, to build emotional bridges in our communities, to provide representation to the voiceless. I am a collaborative creator. I am inspired by the beauty of our Appalachia, the generosity of its people, and the overall tenacity of the human spirit. My photography business is focused on studio portraiture and I’m most interested in making images of people with minimal retouching.” He goes on to say this about these four photos of a pregnant Kaitlin Reimert Pickens, a frequent model in his studio:
RAFAEL BARKER: I first met Kaitlin through an Instagram image search of ‘WV Model.‘ A striking pose first caught my eye, but her Old Hollywood beauty truly stood out — a soulful, haunting and unique face, unlike any I’d seen in the area.
Our first shoot happened only a few weeks later, and began a year-long study of the human form. This series was the last set we were able to do before she had her son, Tidus. She was reaching the point in a pregnancy she’d been carrying — from before the first day we’d met — where she was not going to be comfortable posing or having much energy for a model’s work.
Her outfit, full of darker earth tones, helped us to envision this session as an outdoor session. Additionally, we selected Nitro’s Ridenour Park as the scene, for its ease of access for the both of us. Moving slowly, deliberately, our mission was to marry the grace and softness of a model’s performative beauty to the strength and urgency of a person in late-stage pregnancy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: When it comes to West Virginia, what Bob Dylan said about something else. Plus, what’s up in the May 2022 issue of WestVirginiaVille.com
FIRST/PERSON: On the streets in “the capital of pain”: There are mayapples unfurling on the banks of the Kanawha River in the darkness of West Virginia’s capital city. There are humans sleeping there, too, on this cold and rainy April night, and we are among them. | by JAMES COCHRAN
5 QUESTIONS: On the Art of the Guitar: Spencer Elliott is a genre-defying solo performer based in Charleston WV, while also performing in the burning-down-the-house trio SE3. A look at keeping your day job while growing an international fan base.
CHARACTERS: ‘The Hobo Girl: She had many names and left many stories. The night ‘The Hobo Girl’ wandered into St. Albans, WV, like a footloose traveler from another time.
LISTEN/UP: Artists & Podcasters worth noting: From hip-hop innovator Shelem to podcasts worth hearing, a heads up from BLACK BY GOD: The West Virginian.
FIRST/PERSON: On Ukraine, Putin, Navalny & Zelensky: J. Michael Willard worked for Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller then went on to international career that landed him in Ukraine. Excerpts from his thoughts on Putin’s brutal invasion of the country where two daughters still live.
POETICS: Two by Colleen Anderson: Clean music. The notes fall one upon the other, / transparent. Closing my eyes on this city concert,/ I hear water, the song of melting snow on a hill / in Braxton County, in spring …
MAN/MADE: A brief meditation on ‘Reflected Glory’: A brief meditation on a shiny object in West Virginia’s capital city.
NOTE TO READERS: Since its founding in May 2020, WestVirginiaVille.com (a project of AmpMediaProject.com), has been a free online magazine of lively, opinionated & alternative writing and imagery about West Virginia. Help us stay in the business of offering ad-free, worthy content. CLICK HERE OR THE ‘Donate’ BUTTON TO SUPPORT THE CAUSE.
MORE BY AL PEERY
PICTURE/SHOW: The Hills & Dales of Al Peery’s West Virginia: November 4, 2021: When it comes to Autumn in the West Virginia outback, nothing could be finer than Al Peery framing the scene from his wanderings in the West Virginia wilderness.