A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

The results are in! Click here to see the winners of the 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. January: Durham Few places in North Carolina have such a prominent intersection of past and

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

The results are in! Click here to see the winners of the 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. January: Durham Few places in North Carolina have such a prominent intersection of past and

Readers’ Choice: 2014 Photo Essay of the Year

The results are in! Click here to see the winners of the 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards.

mini photo essay

January: Durham

Few places in North Carolina have such a prominent intersection of past and present. In Durham, farming inspires new technology. Murals grace the exteriors of gritty warehouses. Nature trails blend into city landscapes. In this place where historic meets practical, and rural meets urban, we find the best of both worlds. Photography by Lissa Gotwals and Brent Clark.
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February: Historic Kitchens

These kitchens don’t gleam with granite countertops because they weren’t showplaces. They were workspaces, essential for the life of a home, an estate, a life-saving station, even a battleship. From the Whalehead Club in Corolla to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial house in Asheville these kitchens represent a portrait of life in North Carolina when function was fundamental. Photography by Emily Chaplin.
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March: Making a Scene

Most of the time, we don’t even recognize North Carolina on the silver screen. But our mountains and beaches, speedways and ballparks, estates and vacation homes, so familiar to us in real life, have been the backdrops for fictional summer love stories, heart-pounding thrillers, and laugh-till-it-hurts comedies. You likely haven’t noticed, but here’s what the film industry means for our state: Millions of dollars. Thousands of jobs. And hundreds of opportunities for us to ask, our voices proud, “Did you know this movie was filmed in North Carolina?”
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April: Appalachian Scenes at the Turchin Center

If not for photographs, we wouldn’t know as much about the beauty, culture, and people of North Carolina’s Appalachian region.

And The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University in Boone understands the role photography plays in shaping our impressions of life in the mountains. Earlier this year, the gallery hosted an exhibition of photographs submitted in the 11th annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition.

The photographers whose work best captured Appalachian landscapes, flora, characters, and pursuits became finalists, and their photos are displayed in the exhibit. In April’s photo essay collection, view some of the scenes represented in this year’s gallery.
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May: Boats

Skiff, schooner, shad boat, sharpie, oyster sloop, sink netter — all of these and so many more carry a fleet
of memories behind them. In May’s photo essay writer Bland Simpson explores the beauty and history of boats in N.C. Photography by Travis Dove.
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June: The Cows of Iredell County

Iredell has been our leading cow county since state agriculture records were first kept, counting more than 300 dairies by the mid-’50s. The number of farms here has diminished now to about 45, but not our appreciation for these dairy queens — and the families who love them. Photography by Emily Chaplin.
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July: Brewers Guild

It’s hard to believe that for so many years, our potential went untapped. Laws in effect since Prohibition limited the manufacture and sale of craft beer in North Carolina, until, in the past three decades, some visionaries among us spoke up and showed us what we were missing. When craft brewers in North Carolina began pouring pints of their dunkels and bocks, brown ales and ambers, IPAs and porters, we took notice. Now we take a seat at these craft breweries, more than 100 of them across the state. Let us toast to these places, and the people, the brewers, who brought good beer to our great state. Photography by Travis Dove.
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August: Rx – Coastal Comfort

This August, we presented an unusual photo essay: eastern landscapes only viewable inside an unlikely venue, the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville. Reflect with us on the healing power of place.

It is a visual counterpoint to the hard work of healing: a permanent installation of 110 oversize photographs displayed on the walls of the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville. The United States Navy commissioned Summerville photographer Greg Loflin to shoot scenes depicting eastern North Carolina and its shores for the facility. Vibrantly colorful, yet serene in subject, Loflin’s work portrays classic coastal views from sunsets to shrimp boats. At every turn throughout the hospital halls, wounded and recovering soldiers and their families come upon vistas and close-ups that both comfort and inspire. Amid fatigues and hospital gowns, sterile surfaces and monochrome walls, bloom settings instantly familiar to North Carolinians. These images impart a sense of place and peace to the hearts, minds, and healing bodies of those who have served their nation, and us. Photography by Greg Loflin.

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September: Mile-High Mountain

The familiar profile of Grandfather Mountain stretches from forehead to chin. But take a closer look beyond the famous face. Contained within these contours is an astonishing variety — 16 different natural communities — of biological diversity. What’s more, it’s possible to experience most in a single day’s hike. Photography by Max Cooper.

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October: Autumn-Mobiles

We celebrated leaf-turning season with head-turning cars. Our kaleidoscope of classic autos beg for an autumn day made for a show-off cruise. Admire and desire these retro beauties as they meander along hairpin curves and purr past mountain vistas.

To capture the tradition of a joyride in the mountains, we enlisted photographer Emily Chaplin, a Charlotte native with ties to Asheville. Emily spent 10 days in the mountains working solo — no assistant, other than the helpful car owners, who were incredibly generous with their time and prized possessions. “On a number of occasions, I rode in the passenger side of the car on the way to our shoot location,” Emily says, “and something I found surprising (though I shouldn’t have) and wonderful was how many smiles, thumbs-up, cheers, and waves we received — from pedestrians, other drivers, cyclists.” For this essay, Emily shot 1,936 pictures and photographed 27 different cars.

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November: Hillsborough Harmony

A mere noun — like “town” — won’t quite do. Neither will “village” or “hamlet,” “crossroads” or “city.” Fortunately, adjectives abound: Creative. Relaxed. Historical. Musical. Intellectual. Open. Impromptu. Fluid. Diverse. Delicious. Beautiful. Casual. Small. Quirky. Affable. Spirited. Stately. Then again, isn’t a picture worth a thousand words? Why, hello, Hillsborough. Photography by Stacey Van Berkel.

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December: A Capital Christmas – Past & Present

From the colonial to the current, our governors’ homes — past and present, in New Bern and Raleigh — dress up for Christmas, too. Bring on the season’s splendor, then, with a fancy masked ball from yesteryear, and today, with thousands of twinkling lights. Photography by Emily Chaplin.

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surveys & polls

This story was published on Nov 25, 2014

Erin Reitz

Erin Reitz is a former digital content specialist at Our State.