Featured Artist 

Julie Rae Powers


Julie Rae Powers's photographic and written work has focused on family history, coal, Appalachia, the queer “female” gaze, the butch body, and queer chosen families. Powers received the MFA in photography from The Ohio State University and the BFA in photography from James Madison University. 

Their work is collected by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. Powers was awarded the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in 2016 and 2020 and was selected in Critical Mass’s Top 200 for 2021. They have work in Y’all Means All: The Emerging Voices Queering Appalachia, edited by Z. Zane McNeil. In 2019, Powers founded Soft Lightning Studio, an independent photo publisher dedicated to publishing marginalized photographers, and published The Home We Know by Ben Willis which was featured in the Washington Post and is collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Watson Library. Additionally, they are the editor of Reclamation: Queering Appalachia's Visual History, a forthcoming collection of Queer Appalachian photographers, and the author of To Thine Own Self Be True, a forthcoming memoir. For their day job they work as an Instructional Designer. Julie Rae Powers grew up in West Virginia and lives in New York City.

About the work included in the gallery below, Powers writes: 
These images are a sampling from a larger body of work titled Deep Ruts—a triple entendre alluding to the deep roots of religion, a deer in rut, and the ruts of the mind in which our ways of thinking and values carve into our daily lives. Deep Ruts places looking and longing at the forefront as the artist explores family, religion, Appalachia, queerness, and belonging. 

 (All images @ Julie Rae Powers and used by permission of the artist)


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