The internet brings an amazing amount of information and entertainment to our fingertips. Not all of it is nice; some people make it their business to spread hate and lies. Others though, take the time to pass on beauty and hope. They make it their business to brighten their (and by extension our) little corners of the world.
One such person is Nicole Tummond Feagle. She has a page on Facebook that I recommend everyone visit. “Life Down A Limerock Road” is the name; photographs with literary quotes are her game, and oh she plays it well.
Nicole makes amazing use of lighting and texture in her photographs; they often evoke days gone by. A picture of a lone staircase in an abandoned old farmhouse, a pew next to the pulpit in a church that no longer sees a congregation, the remnants of a lace curtain in an old vernacular house; these are the types of things that catch her eye. A broken screen door on the back of an old dog trot. An empty and forgotten plantation house. She finds things that are no longer used and while she does photograph the loneliness of abandonment and what a shame that is- she also celebrates the life these old places have had in a way that makes us remember our own histories in them. We bring them to life again.
I see her picture of the old church pew and it takes me back to staying with Grandma and Grandpa here in Mayday, Ga. on their farm one summer. We went to church every weekend. Some of the churches we went to had plain wooden pews and no air-conditioning. I remember sitting there, sandwiched between my grandmother and an older cousin, sweating while we sang Amazing Grace. After service we stood in the hot shade to eat the lunch the ladies had brought at old wooden tables outside. I watched more than one baptism in the creek after sitting on those wooden pews. My cousin and I slapped at the mosquitoes and looked longingly at the cool water. That’s what I see when I look at her pictures of the old churches. Wearing our Sunday best and looking at the boys from behind our hymnals while we sang; unaffected as yet by house payments and timeclocks.
The thing that sets her photographs apart from every other photographer with a page on Facebook is her use of words. She doesn’t mention the locations of her subjects, sadly some might use that information to visit and vandalize. Instead she presents each picture and pairs it with a quote from anything from song lyrics to movie lines to Andrew Lytle, Emily Brontë and Tennessee Williams. Some of her pictures are posted with descriptions of why they caught her fancy, or explanations of things like the history of Haint Blue. She says she is a huge music and literary fan. Adding the quotes to her photos allows her to embrace emotion in a safe way and she hopes her viewers will experience this too. Looking at her photos reminds me strongly of Grandma and those simpler times and while I miss her it is so very sweet to remember things I had long forgotten about her.
Nicole hasn’t been taking photographs that long; she started working with photos on Instagram back in 2012. After a rough period in life she was looking for something to feel good about, a new direction- and she started photography as a hobby. She pointed out that the area she lives in is full of lime rock roads, not the regular old dirt roads one normally sees in the countryside. Life down a lime rock road is who she is – and that turned out to be a very appropriate title for her page. Her photographs are often of old homes and churches, dog trots and tobacco barns. The work is more about the weathered wood folks, not the plantation owners. She finds her subjects by various means including word of mouth, networking with others in the field and this is clever- she uses Google Earth to search nearby areas for ghost towns, old buildings, etc.
One of the things that captures her attention are the old churches in the area. Highlighting these old properties helps to raise awareness and in some cases the funds to restore them.
Nicole has a link on her page where she offers prints of her work. I know I’ll be ordering some soon. Please watch this up and coming photographer and like her page, you won’t be sorry you did!