The Middle of Somewhere
A project by Taylor McDonald & Caitlin Penna

Scattered beyond North Carolina’s growing urban cities are small towns untouched by modern development. One stoplight, a Citgo & a local eatery may be all you find during a visit.  When residing in Raleigh or Charlotte it’s easy to forget our foundations. Our roots exist in the hearty dirt of tobacco fields and the fresh rivers in Western North Carolina. Being forgotten or overlooked has kept life in these small towns moving at a slow pace. There is a collision of old ideas and new. There is separation from both urban neighbors and small towns surrounding.
In two months we drove down winding dirt roads, pale beaten highways & up mountains to meet these people. From the coast in Knot Island to the mountains in Murphy we shared time with strangers & new friends. Initially we were unsure of what we would discover. We found hardship, laughter, unbeatable hospitality & clear separation. These images tell the story of what we found, who we found , and what lies beneath.

About The Artists
Caitlin Penna is a freelance photojournalist based in Raleigh, NC. Caitlin studied photography at Randolph Community College where she obtained a degree in Photojournalism. She is currently shooting for The associated Press & European Press Photo Agency. Caitlin’s ultimate passion is telling people’s stories through imagery. She hopes to inspire her viewers from both the brightest and darkest moments that unfold in front of her lens.
Taylor McDonald is a freelance photographer based in Raleigh, NC. She graduated from The Savannah College of Art & Design in 2014 with a BFA in photography. She currently shoots for The Triangle Business Journal and for numerous real estate agencies in Raleigh. Moving forward, Taylor hopes to further pursue lifestyle and editorial photography and work on various personal projects.