Fernbank Presents Georgia Natural: Photographs by Diane Kirkland,Showcasing the Natural Beauty of Georgia
Georgia Natural includes 35 framed photographs, which highlight Kirkland’s appreciation for the many sanctuaries in Georgia that have remained largely unchanged for thousands of years. She works to portray the mysterious and primordial qualities of each scene while capturing the evocative, other-worldly appearance the natural world can convey in soft and low light. “I hope my pictures show that these places are worthy of our attention and that we don’t allow these sanctuaries to disappear,” Kirkland said. “Because often, we don’t keep what we don’t value.”
The photos include rivers, streams, trees, swamps, outcrops and more, while moments of fog, dusk, mossy trees, and blooming flowers add depth to the view. Kirkland explores patterns and designs to discover cohesiveness in seemingly random, unrelated elements of nature, which she says requires intense observation to the uniqueness of a view. “Subtlety enlivens our senses,” she said.
Kirkland’s photos not only capture the beauty of the landscapes but they also capture the essence of the moment. In several coastal plain and barrier island images, a mysterious fog coats the landscape, slow to reveal exactly what has been captured in the lens. Crisp reflections in the water of Sweetwater Creek in the Piedmont region swell and recede as rocks below distort, revealing what appear as upside-down apparitions, sunlit cliffs, or something else. Sunlight pierces through the steam of Moody Swamp, cutting through the dampness that can almost be felt through the photograph. In another image, a glorious expanse of ephemeral clouds greets the viewer in Morning Marsh.
The collection of images includes documentation of the variety of landscapes found in Georgia’s Ridge and Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain, and Barrier Islands regions. All are represented in rich compositions. Kirkland framed her subjects in a manner that leads the eye on a journey within each piece, from swirling vines and roots that lift the eye up and out of an Ocmulgee River Flood Plain to a journey deep into Brasstown Bald Trail.
Kirkland has a long relationship with Georgia’s natural spaces. A 25-year staff photographer for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Kirkland has traveled extensively throughout the state to capture the natural beauty of Georgia’s geographic regions. The Georgia Council for the Arts selected Kirkland to join their 2008-2010Touring Artist Rosters, and she was also invited to join the Southern Arts Federation, which is a multi-media artist registry that spotlights outstanding artists who live and work in the South. In addition, Kirkland was the recipient of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources 2007-2008 Artist in Residence Grant.
Georgia Natural is included with Museum admission, which is $17.50 for adults, $16.50 for students/seniors, $15.50 for children ages 3 to 12, and free for children 12 and under and for members. Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road, NE in Atlanta. Tickets and information are available at http://www.fernbankmuseum.org/ and 404.929.6300/404.929.6400