© Tim Gruber
I love this photo by the photographer Tim Gruber. It comes from Tim's series, Life in Appalachia, which, he explains,
"... started out as an essay about coal and what coal means to the people of Appalachia. Most of the pictures are a result of my essay class in grad school where my classmates and I were all sent out to shoot the same topic (coal) in our own ways. It quickly became the most competitive and grueling endeavor I have ever experienced as a photographer. I tell people it was like watching a class of overachieving second graders all vying to be the kid who got the star on their paper or in our cases photos. It also made me realize just how much one can grow when you surround yourself with talented and passionate people. With time the essay drifted into a much broader project about life, the people, and the gritty charm of the region.
This particular photo was from an abandoned school in rural Virginia. I'm not sure what the old letters were from, but I thought it served as a fitting metaphor to not only the decay of the school but the slow erosion of Appalachia that has taken place over the years because of mountaintop removal."