Reclaimed by Nature: photography at the DeKalb History Center

Kippelen 5x7_PRINTno crops

Update: An artist’s reception is scheduled for October 10, six o’clock til eight o’clock the evening of Tuesday, October 10th. Meet the artist and enjoy this superb show.

Have you been by the Old Courthouse to see this photography by Virginie Kippelen?

On her blog, Ms. Kippelen shares:


“People forget but the landscape remembers.” – English photographer Simon Norfolk

This new body of work shades the light on the history of a place –  the former granite quarries at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve in Lithonia, Georgia-  and explores the intricate layers that have shaped its existence.

Arabia Mountain is an intriguing place: it is granite monadnock, an isolated and exposed rock hill, one of the few found in Georgia. It has a unique topography and geology which allow unusual plants to thrive. Decades of stone extraction have shaped it distinctively and have created man-made walls. Yet after the quarry closed and the surrounding land was eventually preserved in the 1970s, the walls have returned to their natural state. In my eyes, they provide both a testament to the industrial past of this land and a beautiful metaphor for the resilience of nature.

While composing my images, I intentionally framed the massive granite walls so that they fill the visual space, leaving viewers no choice but to face their intriguing beauty and to contemplate the subtle nuances of color, shape and texture that define them.

I also found this little video at Atlanta Celebrates Photography, it gives you a better idea of the magnificent scale of the work.

You can see this work at the DeKalb History Center,  open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Virginie Drujon-Kippelen is a writer, photographer, and multimedia producer working in editorial, portrait, and commercial photography. Originally from France, she moved to the United States in 1991 and earned a Masters’ degree in print journalism from the University of Arizona. Drujon-Kippelen is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia and has worked as a Photo Editor at Her editorial photos have been featured in the New York Times; Her personal body of work investigates the contemporary landscape and our perception of nature in the urban environment.



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