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Arts & Culture

Natural Virginia: Capturing the Beauty of the Old Dominion

Natural_Virginia.jpg
Ben Greenberg
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At a time when almost every American carries a cell phone camera, it takes courage to try and publish a book of photographs, but a Virginia man was determined to celebrate the beauty of this state in print.
 

Ben Greenberg began taking pictures as a new father – 44 years ago -- but was quickly drawn to landscapes in Virginia.

“All the way from the Eastern Shore to the mountains, from Southwest Virginia Highlands all the way to the Potomac.  There’s so much to be seen and to be photographed.”

But his are no ordinary snapshots.  Greenberg has taken thousands of panoramic pictures – most requiring patience and commitment.

“There is a huge difference between taking a snapshot with a phone or certain other kind of equipment and truly applying yourself with passion, with great effort, to get the best picture possible from a given location.   You have to figure out how it needs to be done, and when you need to be there, and when’s the light going to be best, and if it isn’t good when you get there, you have to be willing to pay the price and come back, sometimes five, six, eight times to get something special.”

Then comes the really hard part – deciding which to include in a book.

“A photographer’s photographs are like a person’s children.  It’s very hard to make decisions about excluding photographs, and I originally started with 230 panoramics from all over the state of Virginia, and I eventually got down to 122 for the book.”

This spring, he published Natural Virginia with text by Tayloe Murphy and Dean Dozier -- a volume weighing six pounds.  Now it’s on to the next chapter of his life as a photographer – a book featuring the landscapes of several mid-Atlantic states. 

Ben Greenberg’s photos will be featured at this weekend’s Arts and Crafts Festival in Crozet.
 

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Credit Ben Greenberg
Great Blue Heron on a Misty James River.