I was born in Point Pleasant, WV. The part of Appalachia bordering Ohio and near the Kentucky Border. I was broadly ignorant of a large chunk of our state, as many of us in the Mid-Ohio Valley are. I moved just a bit downriver to Huntington, WV in my late 20’s and early 30’s to finish my education at Marshall University. The goal was to obtain my Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and move to an area with more economic opportunity. “The struggle to stay” phenomenon in West Virginia is very much a real thing for nearly everyone who grows up in this state and it was no different for me, even though this always felt like home. I expanded my horizons a bit by traveling across the country during this time. I was driven partly by the fact that I was born with a genetic disorder called Cystic Fibrosis, which affects the lungs through persistent lung infections and damages other organs over a lifetime and is usually terminal before the age of 40. Not knowing how long my health would hold up I picked up a camera, taught myself how to use it and went exploring. I learned what ‘real’ mountains were, as well as canyons, dark skies, and cities. However, I kept coming back to the ancient, eroded mountains of West Virginia and the old rivers with their carved-out valleys and canyons that are, frankly, a mere shadow of their Western counterparts. I learned that we too have night skies that are still dark enough to view the Milky Way and even our small towns and cities can be compelling under a certain light. Photography here can be more challenging compared to Western landscapes where there is a photogenic vista at every turn, but it can also be more rewarding with our dramatically varied landscapes and changing seasons. And so, I stayed here in Huntington and chose to focus on landscape photography.
Find Jesse’s full bio and About information here: https://reflectioninapool.com/pages/about