Hunter Blevins was born and raised in Southwest Virginia. Specifically, from the town of Marion, he has spent plenty of time exploring the region and what it has to offer. His love for the state inspired him to take up the hobby of photography which he followed to Shenandoah University. After spending some time in Winchester studying media and communication, he returned home to continue his education and spend more time in the mountains he loves.
Chad Thompson is a SWVA native currently residing in Glade Spring, Virginia. Growing up in SWVA, Chad has always enjoyed hiking, biking, and photography adventures. Chad attended Virginia Intermont College where he studied film and digital photography. After college, Chad became a freelance photographer / videographer where he created work for various clients around Southwest Virginia. After years in the field, Chad started a YouTube channel where he started teaching about his profession. Today, Chad still creates content on YouTube as well as personal and freelance photography / videography.
Blake Salyer is a lifelong native of the coalfields of Southwest Virginia currently residing in Norton, VA. From his early days of childhood to now he has developed a fascination and appreciation for the mountains he calls home. Blake remained in the region to further his studies at UVA-Wise where he graduated with a Business Administration degree. He loves being outside and is taken by community and culture. He has built an e-commerce apparel brand inspired by our beautiful landscapes and the adventure lifestyle called Winze Company and is currently working on a social media and content marketing startup.
Growing up in Tazewell, Virginia, Billy Bowling has experienced over three decades of growth and change in the Southwest Virginia region. As a graduate of Tazewell High School in 2000, he accepted a scholarship to Coastal Carolina University where he Studied Business Management and played Division 1 Soccer for the Chanticleers. His travels led him to Tampa, Florida for 6 years following where he worked for both ABC News and started finding his passion for photography while working as a media assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Billy returned to our area 5 years ago and began to explore some of the regions hidden corners, and forgotten places all with his camera in tow. He has since generated imagery regularly for not only Friends of SWVA, but he is employed at the state level by Virginia Tourism Corporation as well as through over 12 local and regional tourism entities within Southwest Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. His work has been featured in places such as Southern Living Magazine, REI, Cabelas, and Smoky Mountain Living, as well as having the distinct honor of having an image from his hometown grace the cover of the 2018 Virginia Tourism Travel Guide, a first for SWVA.
Most days you can find him hiking or traveling the region generating new imagery and media, or growing his portraiture and wedding business based out of his home in Lebanon, VA with his wife Emmy and his three children, Alex, Scarlet, and Caroline.