Over her long and much-lauded career, Anne Rearick has made photographs in such far-flung places as Kazakhstan, South Africa, and the French Basque country. But in the summer of 1989, before all the grants and awards (including a Guggenheim in 2003), she was a grad school student who had never made pictures away from home. That changed when she was connected to the Riddle family of Perry County in Eastern Kentucky.
You Will Look To The Mountains, Rearick’s first monograph with Deadbeat Club, is the long-awaited result of her visits to Appalachia as a young and impressionable photographer more than 30 years ago. On the book’s cover, a likewise young and wide-eyed Amy Riddle peers out from behind a bouquet of flowers, as if greeting us with equal parts charm and curiosity. As soon as she met the Riddles, Rearick was readily welcomed into their day-to-day family life. From hog killing to hair braiding, a family graveyard and children playing, Rearick captured candid moments of unaffected revelry, fellowship and tradition. These images, however, are resolutely straightforward, never sentimentalized. In that sense, we see the emerging artist laying the foundation for the humanist vision that has animated her highly-regarded practice ever since.
Anne Rearick's vision is documentary in nature, but also uniquely personal. Rearick works slowly, often photographing over the course of years and in the process deepens her relationship to people and place.