19th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Altered Images
The Conversation

In 2017, I returned to the Appalachian Mountains of my birth to teach photography at Appalachian State University. How did I end up back in this haunted land after 18 years? Was it an act of God or could it simply be coincidence? Was there a lesson that I hadn’t learned? I began to pay attention to all ubiquitous crosses on the hill, or the church marquee signs. Were these words and signs meant for me? or evidence of a God? The experiences were not always literal and I began to think I was prone to magical thinking. The images are about an odyssey of internal conflict as a nonreligious Appalachian navigating the signs, symbols and experiences in this land I love.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2019
Date Uploaded: 11.2021
Photo Location: Georgia, United States of America
Copyright: © Greg Banks