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Shelby Lee Adams




Shelby Lee Adams (born 1950) is an American environmental portrait photographer and artist best known for his images of Appalachian family life.

Adams’ has photographed Appalachian families since the mid-1970s. He had first encountered the poor families of the Appalachian mountains as a child, traveling around the area with his uncle, who was a doctor. His work has been published in three monographs: Appalachian Portraits (1993), Appalachian Legacy (1998), and Appalachian Lives (2003).

His work is in the following permanent collections (not a complete list): Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; International Center of Photography, New York, New York; Musee De L’Elysee Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Time Life Collection, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.

Adams was the subject of a documentary film by Jennifer Baichwal in 2002 – The True Meaning Of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’s Appalachia, which was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, and at the Sundance Festival in 2003.

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