The first paid professional photography I undertook was for
the Rural Electric Cooperative, an agency of the federal government.
They wanted photographs that documented the need for "the
war on poverty." It was a several-day assignment in Appalachia.
By this time I had traveled a good deal in America and felt
I had seen poverty. But I was unprepared for the depth and immediacy
of poverty in the Appalachian coal fields.
A man drove me around in his car. I wasn't afraid of what
I saw, but I was afraid to photograph what I saw. In front of
this house I asked the driver to stop the car and lean forward.
I photographed across the car, then we drove on quickly.
When I printed the picture I cropped out the car door. I was
ashamed that it showed my fear. Now I think it's the most
interesting part of the photograph.