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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mountain Man ©1971


I ran across this old fellow in the backwoods of West Virginia. We met quite by chance near the little town of Marlinton.

His name was Barnhouse and it was the sort of name I would never forget. I spotted him from the highway splitting white oak shingles for a nearby cabin. I struck up a conversation and learned that he lived back in the sticks somewhere near what the locals referred to as Beartown.The local postmaster later told me that he was a hermit and had been referred to as Mountain Man.

I made several close-up exposures with my old twin lens Yashica Mat 2 1/4 film camera and bid him farewell.

It was this image that took a best-in-show at my very first juried art show. The print was a 16 x 20 sepia toned and was donated to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmong, VA

The following quote was made by Fred Brown in a feature article that appeared in the September 24 issue of the News-Sentinel, Knoxville, TN. The article was describing a one-man show at Carson-Newman College.

Once you have seen a Jack Jeffers photograph, you won't have any trouble recognizing another.

Look at the eyes, the hands, the facial expressions of his subjects. Or the richness in the landscapes as they rise and fall, roll across mountains, ramble along a snow-covered fence or take you to a field of fodder shocks and corn stubble.

A singular quality radiates throughout his photographs that gives them the style and grace of a master behind the camera. And yet, there is more. Jeffers captures the character of the person or land he has centered in his lenses.

He finds the soul, the essence, and then conveys it to the viewer in a way that evokes painted images caught at the precise moment of a mothered creation.

There is one other quality about his work. Jeffers' photographs are rendered in black and white. There is starkness to what he plants on paper, an outline and shadow of life and the living found in the great camera artists such as Ansel Adams.

Fred Brown


Knoxville, TN 9-22-1994

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