'They are connected by the region, the scarred landscape and the lack of opportunity. They are united not by their poverty, but by their connection to family and land. Some people in the region have seen my work and said, “This isn’t where I live, this doesn’t represent us.” I’ve never claimed to represent the entirety of the place; that would be impossible. What I am trying to show is the rather large chunk of society that has been marginalized by shifting industries and families are stuck in a cycle that is difficult to break.' - Matt Eich, photojournalist and Alexia Foundation Grant winner
Eich, also the winner of a Getty Images Editorial Grant for his project Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town, spent years photographing and getting to know the people of rural Ohio. The region has slowly deteriorated as industry moved out, but, as Eich discovered, strong family ties and regional connections have endured. Read more on the Alexia Foundation blog.
Image: Tylor Woodrum, 16, holds a box containing his father’s ashes. Dave Woodrum was killed in August of 2006 in a high-impact 4-wheeler accident. Dave’s family had his body cremated and his favorite cock-fighting rooster mounted on top of the box. Matt Eich/Alexia Foundation