“Sloans on the Porch, Sloan’s Fork, 1988″ © Shelby Lee Adams.
“These Appalachian families are down and out, but stubbornly proud — and not to be pitied for the togetherness that keeps them away from economic circulation. (With a long history of exploitation by Northern profiteers, they had reason to be wary.) Adams probably knows more of their warmth and also of their bad-tempered instincts, than he can show. While they pose for their portraits, maybe grateful for his attention, he studies their ways, a process very different from serving their values. What counts for him, in the end, is their virulence, out of which he fashions quite beauteous pictures.”
— Max Kozloff, “Insiders and their Cultures: Portraits of Difference, 1970 – 2000” in The Theatre of the Face: Portrait Photography since 1900.