The Gorgeous, Subtle Changes on the South Carolina Coast

The Photo Blog
Jan. 2 2014 12:29 PM

The Gorgeous, Subtle Changes on the South Carolina Coast

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Yvonne Boyd

After 16 years working in a very busy commercial photography studio and running her own boutique photo lab, photographer Yvonne Boyd was ready to focus on her own work—and have a bit of peace and quiet.

Boyd found both on Harbor Island, part of the South Carolina low country where she first visited and fell in love with 20 years earlier. She began photographing the area for an untitled project in 2012, although she had been preparing and shooting for it since 2007.

Boyd, who grew up in rural Pennsylvania and spent time around northern beaches in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, connected with the southern landscape and its “uncrowded” coastline. “I always felt as if the land and water are trying to tell me something,” Boyd said. She said high tide averages around 7 feet, and although at first glance the landscape might appear to be exactly the same, it varies each day with each tide. “All of the images are shot within 100 yards or so of each other, just at different times of day and different weather conditions,” she said.

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Yvonne Boyd

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At first, Boyd began shooting in color and said that although the results were beautiful, it wasn’t exactly what she envisioned. “Once I started thinking about it from a black-and-white perspective, it clicked. I was then able to concentrate on composition, tones, texture, and show the view that I saw. Also, I like the challenge of really having to search or work for the right image because you have no color to rely on to perhaps distract you from the intent. For this series I wasn’t interested in portraying reality, but strived to represent more of a mood and feeling.”

The peacefulness of the images would lend the idea that Boyd is a patient person, but she says she isn’t, although she has “had great patience with this project.” After working for six years on it, Boyd said she knows what she’s looking for and recently spent a month a bit farther south, on the northern coast of Florida; she is working on editing those images.

Boyd has no plans to stop working on Harbor Island, saying she will work on it for as long as she can continue to visit and photograph the island. The project “has taught me … to work on it until you fully realize your vision,” she said.

You can follow some of Boyd’s projects on her Tumblr.

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Yvonne Boyd

David Rosenberg is the editor of Slate’s Behold blog. He has worked as a photo editor for 15 years and is a tennis junkie. Follow him on Twitter.