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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Greg Banks

SPE Member since 2014
Member Chapter: South Central

An Explanation Of Sympathetic Magic

I am connected to the people of the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky by blood, sometimes memories and place, but mostly through an oral history of who they were. With so few details I am letting my imagination run wild and fill in the blanks. My images are portraits of my family, memories, religion in the holiness church and oral history or factual history in the context of the Appalachian mythology and folklore. Playing with the old family archive of mysterious snapshots as well as photographs of important mythical figures in Eastern Kentucky’s history, my work weaves together a personal narrative with the folkloric history of the area through a belief in the supernatural. The images are gradually manipulated and assembled as they transition through multiple IPhone apps as well as Photoshop similarly to the way folktales are altered from person to person. Each app adding to the story like a person might do as they are passing along some tall tale without regard for facts. I take certain liberties with the original images to create a sense of what it feels like to partake in witchcraft, to work in a coal mine, to be anointed by the Holy Ghost, to handle snakes, fire, to heal the sick, to levitate or even raise the dead. I am not solely interested in telling the story of Appalachia and its people but I am reckoning with my own thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the afterlife. I too hope to raise the dead; only for me, it’s symbolically through photography. These photographic reinterpretations connect me to the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky through family stories, my own memories and nightmares, history and even tall tales.

Canary In A Coalmine

Fable of Devil John Wright

And It began with an Apple

And These Signs Shall follow To George Went Hensley

Witchcraft: Allegations And Misfortune

The Precautionary Tale Of Goatman

Tracing My Lineage to The Serpent

Sherman Lawson's Resurrection Miracle

Concerning The Farmer’s Hymn

Familiar Elegy on Wallin's Creek

After The Family Farm

The Death Of Linda

Uninhabited Dissenter

A Moth In A Mine

A Memory Of Living In the Holiness Church With An Anointment, Fire, And My Father

Great Uncle Ham's Final Baptism by the Frogs

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