A new photography exhibit showcasing the faces of East Palestine is on display at the East Palestine Memorial Library.

Photographer Rebecca Kiger documented the year of recovery from the resident's perspective in the village after the fiery train derailment. Some of those photos were included in a TIME magazine special report that was published on Feb. 12., 2024. The photos that didn’t get published are now scattered throughout the library. 

Several photos hang in frames on the walls, others secured with push pins to a board or laid out on the tables. They follow different businesses, school teams, or just regular community members in the 365 days following Feb. 3. In one photo, the East Palestine football team is huddled together as one player raises his helmet over his head. Another, firefighters can be seen using a hose by a fence. Many more pictures showcase people going about their normal lives. 

The first group to get an exclusive look at the photos before the exhibit opened was followed during the documentary process. 

“Stick To It Fitness” is an East Palestine-based exercise group for older people. Lead Instructor Barb Kliners said though their year post derailment they did a lot of what they normally would do by playing chair beach volleyball, walking in 5k’s, and doing cardio drumming. All of it was captured in Kiger's photos, which Barb said just shows them pushing through another bump in the road for their generation.  

“I think she did a fair representation of what is happening in our community,” Barb said about the photos Kiger took. "I want to show the world that we like older people and that we’re active and that we have a lot of things to do here and that you come here and you become part of this family.”

Each of the 150 photos focuses on the people in the village rather than the disaster itself, capturing different perspectives on how to move forward after such a significant moment in East Palestine’s history.

“It's a wonderful honor that we can be able to have these images, information that people can come for generations to access,” said Noreen McBride, Assistant Director at the East Palestine Memorial Library. 

“We got thrust into the history of the community and it can be our legacy,” Barb said. “It may be the most important thing that I leave behind.”

The exhibit will be on display at the East Palestine Memorial Library from March 26 to April 30.