How a photographer made it his mission to document disappearing South Georgia
Author: Suzanne Lawler
Published: 6:45 PM EDT October 26, 2017
Updated: 7:55 PM EDT October 26, 2017
LOCAL 0 Articles

Driving around Central Georgia, you’re sure to see plenty of old barns, homes, and even a hospital or two. The structures pepper the landscape like ghosts.

One man has made it his mission to document them and their history for the world to see and he calls the project ‘Vanishing Georgia.’

Fitzgerald native Brian Brown’s camera clicks countless times a year. He loves old buildings and has even based his business around them.

“You just don’t run across places like this anymore,” says Brown.

Brown created the Vanishing Georgia website – a home for more than 125,000 pictures he’s taken from all over the state.

“Of the structures I’ve photographed, at least 30-40 percent are gone,” said Brown.

One place he’s particularly fond of is Grovania – a postage stamp of a town in south Houston County.

He points to the Ellis grocery store and explains how fans of his work have connected with him over the project.

“On my website, a lot of people have told me that it had no air conditioning and in the 1950s, they would come in the store and they would lay out the meat on the big tables with salt,” recalled Brown. “It's a typical style of architecture that was employed for stores at that time. The convenience stores and the box stores that we have today, you know, there was nothing like that back in the community. You had to build the store yourself and it's a style of architecture that I document called vernacular.”

The trains that pass by now are modern, but the rail lines date back decades and right next to the grocery store sits an old depot.

“It was the old Southern Georgia / Florida depot. It was in use at least till the 1930's. [It was] typical in little towns like Grovania…there was a store, a church, and a depot,” said Brown.

Even though Brian’s practically documented the entire state already, he frequently checks back on certain spots like Elko just to see what happens to the timbers and concrete as they age.

“I’m always hopeful these places are going to be around. I try to visit these places every couple of years to see what’s still around and Elko looks the same so that’s good,” said Brown.

If you’re interested in checking out his website, click here.

And for all of you photography buffs out there, Brown uses a Nikon D90 for most of his work