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Uncle Wayland’s Gourds: A Vanishing Southern Landscape

Gourds from the Callaway

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see,” is one of my favorite quotes, and I see a landscape filled with things disappearing at an alarming rate.


I also see a lot of history in these photographs in a collection I named Southern Charm. Each one has a story.


This photograph of the gourds, Apartment with a View, was shot on the Callaway farm in Ringgold, Georgia.


When I met Mark Callaway, the farm’s owner, he shared with me an amazing history of his family’s land.


This long history includes Cherokee removal; summer homes built by the Warner Park family, one of which was converted to a Civil War hospital. The cellar of one of the cabins still bears the names of the Warner children, inscribed into the cement footings in 1897.

When Mark Callaway saw this picture at In-Town Gallery, he said he just knew they were his Uncle Waylands gourds! Callaway’s father and Uncle Wayland turned the valley into farmland and raised sheep and oats. Much of the acreage in Cherokee Valley is different now; the barns sold off for their prized wood, the land re-purposed into developments with houses and families. Still, today though,  there are still about 200 of his family members living up and down this valley.

My photographs capture things once thought commonplace and preserve them lest they disappear from our view completely.

You can see some of Southern Charm during March at In-Town Gallery and the full collection on my website.

Mark Callaway, left with the gourds photo printed on metal that he ordered.