Five Years & Counting!

Mystic GA Irwin County Ghost Town Abandoned Car Ashley Parrish Store Dirt Stree Film Photograph Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia 2008

Mystic, Georgia © Brian Brown, 2005.

Today marks the five-year anniversary of Vanishing South Georgia!

What began as a personal project has grown into something much greater than I would have ever imagined. In traveling thousands of miles through 82 counties and hundreds of towns of varying sizes, I believe I have been privileged to see a Georgia that few people get to experience in such depth. As I branched out from Ben Hill & Irwin Counties, I did search after search for little places with interesting names I’d found on the map. I knew most would be hard to track down, but one after another seemed lost and forgotten. Part of my mission, and one that remains central to this work, was to create a permanent record  of these places for researchers and people nostalgic for a glimpse of their roots. As a historian, I was very aware of the need to document them, but what made my work take wings, so to speak, was the early support and feedback from the people I began connecting with as a result of my photographs.

Mrs. Gay's Farmhouse on Waterloo Rebecca Road Irwin County GA Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2008

Mrs. Gay’s Place on the Waterloo-Rebecca Road, © Brian Brown, 2007

And I’m not the only one out here, doing work like this. When I began posting my images to the internet I found a small but determined community of people doing the same thing as me, albeit it on a different scale and usually with far more credentials as artists. Too countless to name are all the other Georgians, whether serious or just taking snapshots for the benefit of their own memories, who record history with their cameras. As Mark McDonald of the Georgia Trust for Historic recently said in an interview with GPB regarding the scope of the work, “…in historic preservation, if you can’t save a historic building, the last step is to document it.”  Tobacco barns, country stores, and farmhouses truly are vanishing every day and with them the way of life they represented and the stories of the lives built around them. Just this week I’ve heard from several subscribers of the demolition of places I’ve photographed. And I know these are important because people are always so sad to report this kind of news. I’m glad they do, though. As long as the need exists and I’m able, I’ll be out in the country with my camera.

Revival for Body and Soul Folk Art Church Sign Westwood GA Ben Hill County Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia 2008

Revival for Body And Soul, Westwood, © Brian Brown, 2008

My work on Vanishing South Georgia saved me, in a way. It came at a time when my own life was in flux and when I seemed to be looking for something as yet unknown. It’s renewed my love for place and for the people whose lives define all the places I visit and photograph. I hope that it brings a little happiness to everyone who sees it. That, as much as the documentary aspect, is worth it.

Dirt Road Ben Hill County GA Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia 2010

Seminole Road, Ben Hill County © Brian Brown, 2010

In the meantime, look for me on a road like this…


26 thoughts on “Five Years & Counting!

  1. Lynda

    I love your nostalgic.. I would love to have the opportunity to do this one day! Till then I will be stalking your site. Thank you!

  2. ryanware

    Brian, congratulations on the five year milestone. This site and your books are treasures. I know what you mean by photography being a renewal or life altering experience. Best wishes!

  3. Carol

    I love it! I have my own little collection of the lost communities around us that I have started too. Thanks for all of your hard work.

  4. J.J. MORAN

    Congradulations, we would attend my cooks family reunion in Dexter Ga. and before her uncle died (Carol Dawkins), he would drive us around Dodge , Laurens and God only knows what counties to show any interested where they Sharecroped and many other aspects of rural farm life back in the day. They stopped having the reunion about 2 years now, why I’ll never know. It got my dauthers interested in family roots. As I’ve told my kids and grand kids if you don’t know where you come from , how will you ever know where your going.b

  5. Lydia McCook

    Hope to see one of your photography books, soon.. My son, Robert, told me, a good while back, that you traveled around taking pictures, etc. I like th ones I just saw on line. I would like to know the names of books that are published. I would also like to know what your web site is, to see more photos.

  6. Michael Jacobs


    Congratulations on your first 5 years! There is a saying, “To see, one only has to look.” I’m glad and grateful for your accomplishments – and to have the opportunity to see the fruits of your labor. Thank you.

  7. Hugh or Jerry West

    You have done an incredible amount of good work Mr. Brown and we thank you ever so much for it. We hope you have the stamina and interest to continue with your outstanding contribution to our heritage.

  8. Peggy Anderson

    As usual–photographs for feasting on. We are truly blessed to have you out there documenting all these wonderful places. Thanks for all you do, and have a very happy fifth. Looking forward with much anticipation to the sixth and beyond.

  9. Ben Dooley

    Congrats…I am so glad my friend told me about your site….now can you get someone to cover my old stomping grounds in north Georgia. Sadly, worthwhile heritage is endangered and disappearing as fast above the “gnat line” as below.

  10. Teresa Andrews Alexander

    I just found your website this week and I called all of my brothers and sisters to take a look at it. I was so touched. It brought back so many good memories. So keep doing what you love to do and be blessed.

  11. Terri

    Written Beautiful as Usual,Brianl and “CONGRAGULATIONS ON YOUR BIG NUMBER #5″ 🙂 Also I want to Personally” THANK YOU SO MUCH” for taking me from town to town,in Our “Beautiful State of Georgia”,by following along with you,in Your “Beautiful Photography”,AND ALSO Stories to go along with Your Photo”s, that we, who LOVE History,LOVE KNOWING!! Also ,it helps me keep “mine and My Past Husband” Memories alive!! The Memories of some of these same Places,me and Him, have seen and wondered about TOGETHER,i now have the answers too,and I wished he were here so we could talk about it,BUT IT IS STILL GOOD to Finally know some of the Answers,and Along with that, learn New Places while doing so!! So, “THANK YOU Brain” AND HAPPY NUMBER I don’t think You Know,”IN HOW MANY DIFFERENT WAYs” you have touched Individuals Life! AND I AM THE BETTER for it,as I am certain so Is Everyone who takes the time to Love This,likewe Did and I do!! Thru YOUR Pictures and Stories,Now we will ALL have them Memories,that we can come to Your Place,and Enjoy reliving them,again and Again! CONGRAGULATIONS I AM VERY HAPPY FOR YOU,5 YEARS IS AMASING..GOD BLESS YOU,IM CERTAIN HE WILL! + 🙂

  12. Alisha

    I Absolutely Love This Site ! It Brings To Mind Simpler Times Now Lost To History. It’s Very Comforting.

  13. Elizabeth

    Only about a year with Vanishing South GA but enjoy your postings and wish you a prosperous Anniversary and more to come.

  14. Judy Corley

    I found your Facebook page by accident and then your website and I was so amazed and grateful that you were documenting the Georgia I love. The Georgia that raised me and made me who I am today. As a writer I see a story in every photo you take. So many lives so many adventures so many faces gently smiling and saying ‘welcome come on in’ within all your photos. Thank you for this wonderful work.

  15. Nancy Shaffer

    Thank you for documenting the “vanishing S GA”. I’m old enough to remember some of the buildings and enjoy seeing others that are “new” to me. Your posts are always welcome retreats for me. Please keep taking photos and sharing them with us.

  16. L. Victor McGough

    Thank you for all the wonderful memories. Most of the pictures you have taken remind me of the summers of my youth spent in Dooly County. Many of the buildings look the dame as there. My favorite place in Dooly County was Lily. My cousin still has a house there. When I was young there were four general stores there and an appliance repair shop. Today there is only one store. The schoolhouse that my father attended has fallen into disrepair. The Methodist Church where my grandfather was pastor has been purchased by the City of Lily as the congregation has either moved or passed away. I had a memorial service there for my mother and an aunt in 2005.

    I sing your praises to the staff at the Georgia Welcome Station. I have been to the Atlanta area twice this year and mention Vanishing South GA to the staff there. One lady said she follows your pics closely. Her family use to farm tobacco around Tifton.

    Thanks again

  17. Sandra L Griffin

    Thank you, Brian. I love all your photographs, especially the houses. I appreciate the effort you make to record these gems forever. Sandra

  18. Diana

    I look at every one of these. Thanks… I visited Pineview lots growing up & knew the Clemments. You also featured my Grandparents’ home in Rochelle. Thanks for all you do!

    On 6/4/2013 11:35 AM, Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown wrote: > > Brian Brown posted: ” Mystic, Georgia © Brian Brown, 2005. Today > officially marks the five-year anniversary of Vanishing South Georgia! > What began as a personal project has grown into something much greater > than I would have ever imagined. In traveling thousands of miles t” >

      1. L. Victor McGough

        Brian when are you going back to Dooly County?

        All of the Georgia Red Clay Roads, that I loved so much as a youth are now all paved. They also named all of the little farm roads. One they named McGough Road. It’s off of the highway between Vienna and Byromville. The last pic makes me want to go there right now. Keep up the good work

  19. Fred Gleaton

    Brian. – Thanks for all you do. I have greatly enjoyed you photos of Warwick, Arabi, Wenona, Doles, Oakfield, Acorn Pond, and Gleaton Road. The world changes rapidly. When I drive through S GA nowadays it seems far different than in the 50’s and 60’s. But I guess 200 years ago hardly any folks were there at all.

  20. Randall

    Happy 5th then !! You’ve certainly brought me happiness and I really hold you in much esteem for it. Keep going. God bless, R


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