Are People The Real Danger to Our National Parks?

April 29, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Defacement at Dan Lawson Place - Cades CoveDefacement at Dan Lawson Place - Cades Cove I have just spent the week photographing the historic architecture in Cades Cove, located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I began a project this week to photograph all of the cabins, mills, barn, and other historic buildings in Cades Cove.  I was inspired to undertake this project because of the fires last year that burned thousands of acres in the park, took the lives of several people, injured hundreds more, and thousands lost their homes.  

Something unexpected happened this week, and I want to share it with you.  As I spent time at each of the buildings I began to realize that natural disasters like tornadoes, fire, floods, etc. are a legitimate threat to these historic structures, people are most likely a bigger threat.  I was sick to my stomach to see the amount of defacement that people have done to these historic structures.  It makes me very angry, and also very sad at the same time.  I can't imagine why anyone would travel to a national park for the peacefulness and sublime beauty, and then decided it is a good idea to damage and destroy the historic architecture.  Once these last few buildings are gone, they are gone forever.  

Defacement at Dan Lawson Place - Cades CoveDefacement at Dan Lawson Place - Cades Cove I am currently developing the sheet film from my efforts this week and I will be posting updates on the Darkroom Underground Public Facebook Group and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Group.  If you haven't already joined the groups, head on over there now and join in on the fun and conversations.  Everyone is welcome.  

For the photographers in the group, I used Ilford FP4+ 5x7 sheet film this week and I am developing in Pyrocat HD.  I made this choice because I am creating platinum archival prints of the historic architecture so that I can donate the platinum prints to the proper historic preservation group(s) to properly care for and maintain these prints for future generations.  If you would like to help support my efforts, you can Become a Smokies Insider.  Your support makes it possible for me to create the platinum plates, and I wanted to thank you by giving you a limited edition platinum plate and a ton of park related resources that will help maximize your fun and enjoyment on your Smokies getaway.  More details are available on the project page.  You can follow along with me as I create each of the platinum prints and view the behind the scenes photos and videos for each location.  

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-Tim Layton 

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