Visual Arts


Deeply Rooted: An Intimate Portrait of Place
Photographs by Lee Ann White

It has been said that a landscape becomes a place when people assign meaning to it. A place evokes memories and emotions. In that sense, the concept of place is a very personal one that allows for different interpretations. And yet, geographic locations with a strong sense of place are those that retain distinct characteristics that set them apart from other places. 

As a landscape photographer, I have spent nearly 30 years photographing unique places—from private gardens to coastal islands to ancient Puebloan ruins. What I had not photographed was the land where my roots run the deepest—the foothills and highlands of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. It was here that I first came to love the land—to identify trees deep in the hardwood forest, to know the wildflowers at my feet, and to sleep soundly beside a softly gurgling brook. 

The pandemic gave me an opportunity to photograph close to home in North Georgia—to follow my sense of curiosity around the bend and down dirt roads. Doing so rekindled my love for these rugged mountains, the agrarian landscape, and all that comes from southern soil—native trees and wildflowers, regional crops and foods, and traditional crafts and furniture made by hand from local materials. Unlike so many developed areas that all look the same, this is a region with a distinct character and where the past is ever present. 

The photographs fall into two broad categories: quiet photographs of the landscape that soothed my soul during this tumultuous time and more intimate details that sparked memories or conveyed the character and history of the region. This work is neither travel guide nor historic record. Instead, it is a conversation with a place—a more personal expression of the way it makes me feel.

Lee Anne White is a photographer whose work is rooted in the landscape—the terrain, what grows there, the history of the land and our connection to place. Her photographs have been exhibited in both solo and juried group shows, including a permanent exhibition of 30 prints at Brenau University. She works in both digital and alternative processes and has a special love for the black and white print. When she’s not working on personal projects, she teaches landscape and botanical workshops for Maine Media Workshops and Madeline Island School of the Arts, as well as in New Mexico, on Amelia Island and online. 

Lee Anne previously served as editor-in-chief of Fine Gardening magazine and consulting editor for Taunton Books. She has photographed more than 70 magazine features, published more than a dozen books on landscape architecture and garden design, handled commercial assignments for landscape architects, and documented historic landscapes for the Library of Congress. She earned a master’s degree in creative studies at the State University of New York/Buffalo State and a bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcasting and commercial art at The Women’s College of Brenau University. She lives in Gainesville, GA.