Welcome to our blog. This is my first post, which means you have become a witness to what we hope will be a small but historical event — the creation of the world’s first large park designed for photographers. It is a deceptively simple idea that we believe has enormous potential.
Before I explain that potential, let me explain how I came up with this photography-park idea. It was all about potential.
I live in Pike County, Georgia, a rural county thirty miles (and a world away) from Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson airport (as the crow flies). Like many rural counties in America, its economy has been faltering. Most of the growth in Georgia has been occurring in the cities and along the interstates. Pike County (like many rural counties) isn’t on the road to anywhere, much less on an interstate. And like many other rural counties (are you noticing a pattern here?), Pike County’s citizens want their county to stay rural. That’s all well and good. But what about an economy?
So I started looking at the county’s potential. Again, Pike County isn’t on the road to much of anywhere so it isn’t likely to become a transportation hub. It does have a really nice river (the Flint) on its western boundary. That has possibilities — if Atlanta doesn’t get it dammed up for drinking water. What else? Well, we have a lot of empty land. Pretty land. Along with the Flint River we have an almost-unknown mountain range on the south side of the county. “Mountain” might be stretching things a bit but it is pretty and people do like riding the hills in our yearly bicycle race — the “Tour de Pike”. It seems that the folks of Pike County aren’t the only ones that like the pastural feel of the county. People come from all over to ride through the country.
The obvious economic solution would be to just “grow” more farmers. Nothing says “rural” and “pastural” quite like fields and pastures. And I think it could be done. There is a lot of good land in Pike. Atlanta is a ready-made market for the natural-grown food craze that is sweeping the country. The problem is, I don’t know a thing about farming. Or bicycling. Or canoeing, kayaking or fishing (the Flint). But I do know about photography. And then it hit me…
What could be more “pastural” than a park? A park that was designed from the word “Go” to be photogenic? A photography park?
What does a photography park need? From a photographer’s viewpoint, a lot of things. And we’ll get to them later. But for right now, let’s deal with the obvious. A photography park needs a view. That means a lot of land. I just happen to know a place with a lot of land that is looking for an economically productive way to use it. If you live in a rural county, chances are, you do too. Let’s talk potential.