Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Elkmont Project: Ghost Town

Elkmont is decaying at an alarming rate, and the Park Service does not have the $6,000,000.00+ to initiate Alterative C, which is to preserve 19 cabins and remove the rest. Though they did release plans to entirely re-do the Cades Cove Road in March 2010 today, nothing has been announced regarding Elkmont. I have a fear that the earmarked cabins will be beyond saving once they do have the capital.

As an artist and photographer, my project is to record what is left of Elkmont. Through photographing primarily the interiors of the cabins, I intend to preserve the spirit of the lives that evolved within these summer homes. The floor plans, colors, and details inside these places radiate the joy and abandon that overtake people when removed from the responsibilities of their regular lives. The simple beauty has me obsessed and mesmorized by the cultural remains of a once vibrant community. I have well over 100 finished images, and hundreds more that are simple documentation.
The exhibit installation will involve having the work divided on the walls according to which of the three areas of the community they were taken in. Photos of the deterioration of the floors will be printed large and mounted directly on the gallery floor, where they will be interspersed with large, hanging photos of interiors.
Part 2 of my project, (after I get a worthy venue for the exhibit) is to sit down with former owners to scan scan family photos to offset my own, to get a solid sense of history. I already have a few vintage photos from public collections.

A few sample photos of my work:

One of the houses furthest up Society Hill

This is the Murphy Lodge from Millionaire's Row (next to Little River trail) below, which belonged to a friend's aunt.

The Parrot House on Millionaire's Row

I call this one "Scream".

Another shot from a house far up Society Hill.

The house my freind's family owned when she was a kid. They called it Oh-So-Cozy. Yes, that is a pink dress hanging in the window.

Inside a Daisy Town house.

An upstairs scene from Society Hill. You can never have too many colors of paint.

This was written on the living room floor, obviously by the owner, inside the Thomas House on Society Hill. "You Take My Home, My Wings Grow With Pain, Good Bye.