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Thread: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

  1. #1

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    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    The thread about one's photography being influenced by where you live inspired me to post this related thread. I'd like to see others share photos of their home towns/states/provinces that may not be the view that one would get as a casual tourist. Please to do so without feeling like you are highjacking the thead.

    I'm sure many of us no longer live in the area where we were raised. And many more who do may view the world around them much differently as they age, sometimes to the point of epiphany. Personally I've lived away from the area where I grew up for upwards of 30 years now. During much of that time I would go two or three years between visits "back home". In part, I conciously avoided returning to the area because it has changed so dramatically from the time of my youth that for many years it was disturbing to me to go back and see the "progress".

    I grew up with an intense love of nature for as long as I can remember. It was painful to me during visits home to see all of the places where I hunted, explored the southern swamps, and searched for sharks teeth on the beaches turned into country club golf courses and upscale housing developments with limited public access. After my parents both passed I began to view the area as a stranger, a tourist. That sense of detachment made it easier to survive and even enjoy the still necessary trips to visit with my wife's family who still live there.

    And this is where it gets really interesting. My journey into photography didn't begin until I had moved away. So during recent trips it is only natural that I wandered around a bit, camera in hand doing what we photogs do. And through the lens of my camera I've begun to discover that the essence of the place still exists. I'm able to see through the veneer of change and modernity to the roots of my youth.

    So here are a few shots of Pawleys Island, South Carolina, as I know it.

    Every twenty years or so the beachfront homes get swept away and rebuilt. But the only thing that has really changed is the price of real estate.
    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    The fishing pier has stood the test of time albeit with many repairs.
    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Cockle shells remain ubiquitous fixtures on the sandy beach.
    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    And the locals still dig clams at the edge of the surf.
    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Pawleys Island Yacht Club hasn't changed much though membership is down and passers by may not recognize the significance of this historical structure with the same reverence as former members.
    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    There is nothing like the sense of smell to spark ones memory and the smell of the salt marsh is truly nostalgic to anyone who grew up near the sea.
    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    The bridges to the island are no longer made of planks having been replaced by steel and concrete. But the rail is still lined with fishermen, none of whom I know but collectively recognizable.
    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Spring dogwood bring on memories of my mother for whom I would dig up seedlings in the forest and bring home for her to plant in the yard. To this day my favorite tree/flower, bar none.
    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    And crepe myrtle provide the southern coastal version of fall maple.
    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

  2. #2
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Thanks for sharing Dan. These are really nice photographs.


    Bruce

  3. #3
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Dan, this was wonderful to read and view (as always, with your posts). Thanks for starting this thread off, and with such a bang at that! Awesome stuff, and I look forward to what other folks post.

    p.s. regarding the other thread, where you mentioned the book, Chased by the Light....that's one of my favorite photo books, and the photographer is extremely influenced and passionate about where he lives, which is of course highly relevant to our entire discussion here.

  4. #4
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Very nice series.

  5. #5
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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Dan, that's a great story, illustrated with some lovely shots that would stand on their own without the narrative.

    I started to wonder about where I grew up. It's only thirty miles away from here, but that's a distance in a small country like this.

    But, it really isn't there any more. I grew up in an industrialised town in south east Lancashire, one of the so-called "cotton towns" - spinning and weaving the cotton that your folks were growing in the south.

    That has all gone. The industry died, the mills have been torn down, the ethnic mix has changed out of all recognition, and so on. Nothing I knew remains except the street names.

    It made me think that is the difference between man-built and natural landscapes. I now live in rural Cheshire, and the views around me really haven't changed much in five hundred years.

    Thanks - very though provoking (and a bit emotional)

  6. #6

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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    One of the very nicest series of photos I've come across. The narrative is icing on the cake. Extremely well done!

    I lived during my elementary school years on a small beef cattle ranch that my father managed outside a town in Florida. My family was forced out about 50 years ago when the owners of the ranch sold it to real estate developers. The town is so small that I have only met three people who have heard of it. One of those three people explained that his sister was living in that real estate development.

    Residents get to their homes by driving on a paved boulevard around the lake that is the development's main attraction. When I lived there that boulevard was a jeep road. Before the road was built, we parked our car on one side of the lake and crossed it in a small boat. While crossing it in the dark one night, we accidentally hit an alligator.

    The real estate development has hundreds of homes and a web site now and it's evident that the people living there have a very different life than what my family had. No judgement about whether it's better or worse, but definitely different.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 7th August 2013 at 12:22 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Dan, great series of photos and I enjoyed their (and your) story.

    karm

  8. #8
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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    I was inspired to carry my camera to work today and shoot a few shots on the route. As an explanation, I have been treating for the Minnesota State Bird (to be read as Mosquito), many of my customers live on the outskirts of town. All are within 10 miles of home.

    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens
    this first shot caught my eye in my customers backyard, on the banks of the Mississippi River

    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens
    about 20 miles further south, in the city of Buffalo, Mn. (I have yet to see a buffalo here)

    When I returned home, I decided to shoot the Purple Coneflower that is a magnet for bees

    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    ........and had a surprise when I was setup for the first visitor

    Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Not bad considering it is shot with a 17mm lens, Ok....26 mm with crop factor

  9. #9
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Outstanding set of shots, Dan. I'm inspired to go back to my hometown now and take photos of the places that were important to me then. Don't know if I will be able to do that in time to post a reply to this thread, but what a great idea.

    And, Randy, I enjoyed your shots too. Thanks for posting.

  10. #10
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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Dan, your images are breathtaking! As I'm sure are your memories of your time there . . . .

    Thank you for sharing them with us.

    Zen

  11. #11
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Lovely pictures, Dan. Since I have come home, as well, I will take more pictures - before what little bit of the rest of it that is left, is gone.

    Marie

  12. #12

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    Re: Rediscovering One's Roots Through the Lens

    Thanks for looking folks, glad you enjoyed the post. Randy, thanks for posting. Having moved around a good bit in my life I find it's the simple things in life that you miss, not the things that tourists see. Like driving by a horse in a pasture every day

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