A native of South Georgia, Anna Norton received her MFA in photography from Tyler School of Art, Temple University and her BA in anthropology from Tulane University.
Norton exhibits in solo and group shows regionally and throughout the US. Her work takes the form of still images and short time-lapse videos including a collaborative site-specific video installation called Living Space with Johanna Inman at Eastern State Penitentiary and Scenes from a Noon-day Land at The Bascom. A selection of her video stills is published in Elements of Photography by Angela Faris-Belt, and her video work is published in Rebekah Modrak’s Reframing Photography with companion website as well as Aspect: The Chronicle of New Media Art. After a decade teaching photography in the mid-Atlantic, Norton has returned south, living in western North Carolina where she continues her photography and video art while working in habitat restoration.
The majority of woodlands in the US is owned by private individuals and families, specifically more than 80% of all land in the East and 90% of Georgia’s 37 million acres. That said, land management choices made by private citizens are critical and education to foster responsible practices essential.
After years of mismanagement and neglect of farmland that has been in Norton’s family for generations, they are restoring 250 acres along the Ichawaynochaway Creek in Baker County, Georgia in effort to promote biodiversity for a sustainable ecosystem. This project documents this land and its restoration back to the native longleaf pine with an emphasis on the prescribed burns fundamental to the process.
When this land was still occupied by those who gave the creek its name, pines ruled, though not the fast-growing, scrawny species preferred for pulp. Shaped by frequent, low intensity naturally occurring fires, longleaf developed fire-resistant characteristics that would allow them to thrive, forming one of the most extensive ecosystems in North America. Stalwart and slow-growing, longleaf pines dominated the southeast providing an open understory for wildlife endemic to the area including gopher tortoises and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, both of which are keystone species essential to the survival of many others. The southern landscape of today would be unrecognizable to anyone who knew it before the logging and fire suppression that led the longleaf ecosystem to become one of the most endangered and fragmented in the US.
Significantly transformed after only a few years, the farm is now home to a growing number of native plant and animal species including quail, fox squirrel, and yellow Indiangrass. It will be about thirty years before these young pines mature creating a new and resilient landscape for future generations.
To view more of Anna G. Norton’s work please visit her website.