"Ian Bates is photographing a group of Appalachian teenagers coping with a tough economy. The project, “Growing Up Lost in Appalachia,” is now the first installment of an exploration of his generation’s experiences growing up amid high unemployment and breathtaking technological change.
But it didn’t start out that way.
It began with a blast — from a carrot cannon.
In October 2011, Mr. Bates, a 20-year-old sophomore at Ohio University, was driving around looking for something interesting to shoot. He was passing through New Straitsville, a former coal mining town in southeastern Ohio, when he came across a scene that made him stop.
'I saw this house that had tons of old stuff in the yard and a big old oil rig truck, and these two young men were making a carrot cannon in the front yard,” he said.'"