When the Lexington Philharmonic performs Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring at its next two concerts, the audience will get a good look at Appalachia through the eyes of one of the region's noteworthy photographers.
Recalling a program she helped coordinate in Michigan, Philharmonic general manager Kelly Whelan said the idea occurred to her when Spring was programmed for Sunday's family concert.
"I thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to get a local photographer and do a similar program?" Whelan said.
The orchestra checked with executive director Allison Kaiser, who at that time was in her previous post as director of the Lexington Art League, and Kaiser suggested Dean Hill.
The Paint Creek native and resident got into photography in 1978, when he was en route to Thailand to serve in the Peace Corps. He picked up a camera in Hong Kong and proceeded to shoot the landscapes of Thailand. When he came back, he found himself looking at Kentucky in a new way.
"When you've been away from home and you come back, things start to look interesting to you," Hill said.
He pursued photography for years as a hobby while working construction. He finally plunged into it full-time four or five years ago. That gave him the time he needs to shoot Eastern Kentucky landscapes in all seasons.
"Most people will go to a waterfall, shoot a picture of it and leave," Hill said. "I walk around to find the right angles and wait for the light to be perfect."
Hill said he never thought about putting his images to music until the Philharmonic called. To create the show, which also will be presented at the March 25 Classics Series concert, he searched his archives and shot some new photos for the program of nearly 200 images.
"A lot of it is everyday scenery seen in a unique way," Hill says. "I think it will put Appalachia in a very positive light."