We're excited to announce our first contributing artist for #everydayslo: 

Elaine McMillion Sheldon

Beginning today through the end of the month, Slo.Media will be featuring the Peabody award winning West Virginian filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon, who will take us on a journey to the most southern part of her home state, McDowell County. This county was the setting for her breakthrough interactive documentary ‘Hollow’, which examined the future of rural America through the eyes and voices of Appalachians. In her run on Everyday Slo she’ll reveal a more personal look at her stay in McDowell County in 2012 while filming Hollow.

Follow us on Instagram to watch this slow story unfold.

McDowell County, West Virginia is the most southern county in my homestate. It’s the county that makes headlines for being drug-ridden, poverty-striken and one of the least educated corners of our nation. And while there are truths to all of these statistics, I know McDowell County for its people, not its issues.

It’s a place where I spent the summer of 2012 filming #hollowdocumentary. But it’s also a place that hasn’t taken its grips off of me since we first met. McDowell County was once prosperous. 100,000 people called it home. The coal mines employeed thousands, including African Americans from the South, and Eastern Europeans who made their way into the rugged mountains from Ellis Island. But today all that has changed.

Today, only 20,000 people remain. Schools have consolidated. Businesses and churches have become empty shells. But nevertheless, there are those who have stayed. During my summer there, I worked with the residents to create a participatory documentary that highlighted their viewpoints about the decline. I would be naive to say that my own opinions and beliefs aren’t scattered throughout.

The documentary has my fingerprints all over it, but it truly is a document of how people felt about this place; a place that they felt had been misrepresented. But for the next 21 days, I will take you on a more personal experience. Follow me this month, up the hollers and on top of mountains, as I show you a place and its people that many have chosen to forget.
— -Elaine McMillion Sheldon

To find out more about Elaine, check out her personal blog, or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

To immerse yourself in her mind, her work, and the complicated, interesting, inspiring, confusing, beautiful McDowell County, check out the award winning  HOLLOW Documentary.

Elaine's current project is She Does Podcast. We think it's wonderful (full disclosure: we also work on it), and you should subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or your podcast medium of choice. 

Elaine is also a producer for Slo.Media's larger production and outreach efforts. Connect with bio over here.

Everyday Slo is a series of patient moving images from featured visual artists, filmmakers, and photographers that tell the story of a specific place in time. To contribute, submit your ideas here.