Jason and I have been wanting to do this project for a while now. We had a vague idea of the direction, but weren't sure what path we were going to take. We just knew it would include our love of Appalachia, photography and what we discover along the way. Jason has a gift of bringing these beautiful mountains and its people to you through the lens of his camera. I have always been drawn to the mountains and fascinated by the stories they tell through their rich history and culture. So, we decided to weave our passions together and bring it to you through Souled in Appalachia.
There's so much that goes into Jason's photography; it's not as simple as just snapping an image. We had a morning when the alarm went off at four o'clock so we could hike up Brasstown Bald to catch a gorgeous sunrise. A night where we slept in our car at Cades Cove in order for Jason to catch a meteor skirting across the sky. One night we even woke up at 3:00 A.M., downed coffee, and made our way to Vogel State Park to stand in the bitter cold so Jason could capture the moon that stood perfectly above Lake Trahlyta. Jason is not able to get an image every time we venture out due to conditions not being just right, but we still gain so much in the process. We get to experience the beauty of the night sky when everyone else is sleeping or a quiet sunrise when all we hear is birds chirping. While out on these road trips or hikes we would often discuss how we wished we could bring the entire journey behind the photographs to everyone and this is where our idea was conceived.
We had our mission and began putting thoughts together on how we were going to carry it out. Jason and I both love these mountains, hiking, traveling, and photography and have always sought them out in many ways. When we're not doing those things, we usually surround ourselves with them somehow; whether watching programs about them in the form of documentaries and YouTube or reading about them in books and blogs. We love the aspect of all of those so we decided to put them together in our own way. We have made this blog and will be documenting our different experiences so you can see these mountains through our eyes. We plan on taking you through each journey from our front door to Jason's final image.
After we had our concept in mind we were lying in bed one night trying to come up with a name that best described our vision and what it meant to us. Jason was born with a creative mind, that is one of the many reasons he is such a great photographer. He thinks like an artist. He never ceases to amaze me with how quickly he can come up with something so clever; it's something I am secretly jealous of. After about one minute of thinking about it, he blurted out the name, Souled in Appalachia. It hit me, too. I instantly loved it. The Soul behind, "Souled in Appalachia" is this...He said his first thought was trying to associate the name around the two of us and the word soulmates came to mind. That was all it took! He took soul and applied it to the reason for this whole project, the Appalachian Mountains. Our soul is here, we became soulmates here, and these mountains have soul like no other mountains on earth. There might be taller or more spectacular ones, but none are deeper than these. Appalachia not only includes the mountains, it represents its people and way of life. We hope to bring it to you in a way you've never seen. A way that makes you feel the same passion we do. We want you to interpret it in a way that touches your soul; we simply will be the eyes.