My name is Kelly Gomez and I am the photographer and researcher behind The Forgotten South. I've covered countless miles of rural dirt roads, hunting for the ruins of the past to photograph. I use data collection akin to genealogical research methods to unearth as much history as I can about each property that I find, through property records, census data, birth & death certificates, obituaries, old newspapers, and various other resources.
The project (originally called Far Enough Photo) started as a hobby photography project in 2010 in Gainesville Florida and has since expanded to include more than 800 historic sites across 11 states.
I have always been a ‘history nerd,’ announcing at age 9 that I intended to spend my life studying the Titanic wreck. Alas, this didn’t pan out and I instead studied History at the University of Florida in the early 2000s, specializing in WWII European History before finding my love for the the history of Florida and the Old South that surrounded me in Gainesville.
While I am typically drawn to the more-forgotten places (that I feel are most deserving of photographic preservation), I am enthusiastic about documenting and sharing the stories from every corner of the Old South.
I truly feel that the fabric of our nation lies in its rural communities with the farmers who have fed us for generations- and continue to to this day. The folks who have lived in homes and worshipped in churches that haven’t been inside a town limits in many years, or possibly ever. The hard-working families and farms that have been left to crumble without a plaque, memorial, or even a record that they ever stood.
I specifically focus on historic rural architecture and life from the early 1800s-1930s period across the American South, though I have been known to wander outside the South from time to time.
While I can’t ever possibly save all these places, I can at least preserve them and their stories in photographs and writing that I get to share with you. Whenever possible, I will do whatever I can to advocate on the behalf of places that have a chance to be saved. In these instances, 35-50% of print sales from those locations go directly to real preservation efforts.
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How do you find these abandoned places?
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org