North Carolina’s coast is made up of a ribbon of barrier islands – thin strands of fragile sand stretching from Virginia to the South Carolina border. Some of these islands are unpopulated subject only to winds, ocean currents, and tropical storms. Others are inhabited and influenced by the economic and cultural changes that ebb and flow with the seasons and economies.
Those who live full time in these dynamic systems witness the changes that accompany these fluctuations. Our landscapes and communities vary seasonally as tourists come and land use needs are strained by increasing pressure for development. Tourists enjoy what the coast has to offer then depart with little thought of what they leave behind – vacant hotels, seasonally closed restaurants, and struggling businesses. Developers see the physical and cultural landscape as income with even less thought to the lives of local populations. They arrive with architects, and engineers to create a “better life” and move to the next conquest after altering the landscape forever.
These images present a view of what is left behind - the loss of seasonal livelihood, the changes in the landscape, and the sense of place. I enjoy the “off season” for the barren beauty it brings and the return to of tranquility and normalcy. While I am affected by the loss of seasonal and long-term community, like a barrier island I have learned to adapt and find beauty in what is left behind.