Matt Eich

February 3, 2011 - February 27, 2011

Duct Tape

Richie Goins Jr. watches from the window of his parents’ trailer as cinderblocks are brought in as the foundation for his grandmother's new trailer. Leetha Goins and her children Timmy, 25, Troy, 16, and grandson Will, for whom she cares, were displaced when a drunk driver swerved off the road and crashed into their trailer. A recent study showed that the child poverty rate has increased 5.6 percent in the state of Ohio over the past 5 years.
Image © Matt Eich

Medicine Bottles

Viewed through a collection of medicine bottles lining the Sellers' window, Hercules crouches to watch the children playing in the snow. The Sellers family struggles with an assortment of health problems. Most of their children have asthma and twins Kacey and Lacey, 5, were both born profoundly deaf.
Image © Matt Eich

Cut Here

Johnny Evans displays a neck tattoo he received while in prison as he sits in his sister's boyfriend's trailer in Chauncey, Ohio on April 14, 2010.
Image © Matt Eich

Kids on the Corner

Lisa Russel, 20, and other teens hang out on the street corners in Glouster, Ohio on Saturday, May 24, 2008. Glouster was once a thriving community in Southeastern Ohio, but with the departure of extractive industries such as coal mining the town's economic sources dried up. The town youth have little to do and substance abuse runs rampant.
Image © Matt Eich

Richie and His Estranged Son Will

Richie Goins (L) props his feet up on a piece of cardboard, attempting to not track mud into his mother Leetha's new trailer home in Chauncey, Ohio on March 11, 2006. He sits with his now estranged son Will (R), 16, who wears a toy Darth Vader mask he found while moving his belongings into the trailer.
Image © Matt Eich

Elvis the Zebra

Elvis the zebra wanders in the snow outside his indoor pen at The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. Stretching across nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed strip mine land in Southeastern Ohio, The Wilds is a conservation center that is an unlikely home to many rare and endangered animals.
Image © Matt Eich

Stoned while Riling Shank and Money

Clayton Ator riles up Shank and Money after getting stoned on February 5, 2007. Ator, an ex-con learned to "shoot ink" in prison and does prison style tattoos out of his living room in Carbondale, Ohio.
Image © Matt Eich

Flooded Road to Mineral

Route 356 to Mineral, Ohio is flooded as the winter snows begin to melt on February 25, 2007.
Image © Matt Eich

Tylor Holding His Dad's Ashes

Tylor Woodrum, 16, holds a box containing his father's ashes on January 30, 2007 in Carbondale, Ohio. 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.
Image © Matt Eich


Lacey Sellers wanders out in the middle of the street to examine the skidmark her daddy left as he drove away. She and her identical twin Kacey were both born deaf and live in the impoverished town of Chauncey, Ohio.
Image © Matt Eich

Matt Eich

Carry Me Ohio

Since 2006, Matt Eich has been photographing the people of Southeastern Ohio as they attempt to recover from the aftermath of extensive extractive industry. Once known for its bounty of coal, salt, clay, and timber, the region was stripped of its natural resources by the mining corporations that thrived there between the 1820s and the 1960s. With nothing left to extract, corporations pulled out, leaving the communities with little economic opportunity. Rampant unemployment, poor housing conditions, drug abuse, and sub-standard schools have left many families here in crisis. At the outset of Eich’s project, Athens County, one of the poorest counties in the state, had a poverty rate of 27.4 percent and a per capita income of just $14,171. With the subsequent economic downturn, these numbers have only gotten worse.

“Carry Me Ohio” is a poignant document of the daily struggles of people in this region. A one-time resident of the area, Eich suggests that his series “is not only a story of social and historical significance, it is also a very personal story about my connection to a place and its rough and resilient people that have been so integral to my coming of age as a person and an artist.”

Born in 1986, Matt Eich studied photojournalism at Ohio University, where he was named College Photographer of the Year in 2006. As a freelance photographer, his images have appeared in numerous publications, among them Newsweek, Mother Jones, TIME, Smithsonian, The New York Times, and National Geographic. Eich’s work has been exhibited widely, including at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and in a solo exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography, where he was also awarded the 2010 HCP Fellowship. He was included in Photo District News’s 30 Photographers to Watch in 2010, Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward 2007 Emerging Photographers, and Photolucida’s 2008 and 2010 Critical Mass Top 50. A founding member of LUCEO Images and former intern at Portland’s Oregonian, Eich now lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

Matt Eich will present an artist talk at Blue Sky on Saturday, February 5, at 3:00 PM.

Listen to an interview with Matt Eich conducted by Lauren Henkin.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download this audio file (right click and choose ‘save as’)