All too often we think of “history” as nothing more than a recitation of names, dates, and places associated with the stories of battles and wars which changed the physical boundaries of states or nations.
The goal of the First Coast Reflections project is to bring a more personal perspective to the history of the North Florida and Southeast Georgia area. To achieve this goal, the works in this collection focus on intimate vignettes from the historic homes and workplaces of the people who settled this region. The subject matter ranges from the very simple homes of the early Spanish settlers of St. Augustine to the ruins of the elegant Carnegie mansion on Cumberland Island, and from seventeenth century architecture of the Castillo de San Marcos to the nineteenth century engineering of the Bouleware Springs Waterworks of Gainesville.
Many of the images in this collection focus on simple activities such as the cooking Iva Chesser did at her wood burning in the small kitchen of her Okefenokee Swamp homestead, the making of lace by the Sisters of St. Joseph at the Father O’Reilly house in St. Augustine, and the writing of Marjorie Kennan Rawlings first novel from her Cross Creek bedroom while recovering from malaria.
I believe these simple acts, often performed under very difficult circumstances, to be of great importance when reflecting on the history of this area. I consider the people whose homes and workplaces I have photographed to be the unsung heroes of our local history and this project is my way of honoring their accomplishments and memories.
This project was funded in part by an Art Ventures grant from the Community Foundation in Jacksonville. My hope is that it will help promote (and hopefully preserve) these valuable historical sites; a cause I care very deeply about and want to assist in any way I can.
The Sewing Circle
The Lady’s Room
The Boarder’s Baggage
The Wood Burner
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