Being a native Virginian and having been born and raised in the ever growing city of Lynchburg, it’s easy to get “used” to the sites and overlook the beauty that is around me in this state’s vast terrain. As all people sometimes do, even I become involved in life, following a typical hurry up and wait routine. Seventeen months ago, my family and I moved from Richmond to the small city of Blue Ridge, VA nestled by the Blue Ridge Parkway, just outside of Roanoke. Since moving to the Roanoke area, I’ve seen many vast differences in culture and scenery.
As a child, I began capturing the scenery of Virginia with a simple point and shoot camera. I always looked for new places to take pictures. I quickly discovered that adding a person suddenly brought the scenery to life. The beauty along and around the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a way of life filled with hiking, biking and overlooks that span miles, the breathtaking views speak for itself. With my love for capturing beauty and people, I have continually grown and a passion for new forms of expressing my art, always come to life. With new forms of expressing my art, I’m always striving, always exploring new ways of capturing people.
One of my newest passions is Pin Up photography. Pin Up has been rapidly trending in the arts world and is another way to bring life and beauty from the 1940’s and 1950’s into modern times. When thinking of Pin Up , big beautiful cars from the era quickly come to mind.
Networking and referrals are a mainstream way to establish business and make connections and through networking I met a fabulous makeup artist, Melinda Lawson Cumbee. Soon I was offered an introduction to a local of Floyd County, Johnny Dalton of Dalton’s Auto Restoration. His love for restoring those massive metal cars of yesterday inspired a collaboration. We set up a day to shoot pin up and so my adventure to Floyd County began.
As I drove on interstate 81, around the hustle of bustle of Christiansburg and Blacksburg, I listened closely to my GPS, as not to miss a turn. The noises of the city were quickly diminishing as I was suddenly hit with a sense of awe. As I looked around, I felt as if I had taken a step back in time, to a time free of the confines of city life. The rustic feel of the farm lands and the mountains were hair raising. Every turn brought a new view. Every view as interesting and impressive as the next.
Upon arriving in downtown Floyd, Main Street had a rustic charm and felt Mayberry friendly. The friendly personalities and southern charm of the locals only enhance the small town feel in Floyd. Speak with a local in Floyd, and it’s easy to see the love and passion for its community.
Pin Up day was perfect, and what a collaboration. Pretty girls often bring attention, but add beautiful cars and it’s a hit. The cars, the people, and the models, made a perfect day even better. When moving locations, the scenery and roads became more winding and nestled. Soon we passed one of Floyd’s gems, Mabry Mill.
Tucked neatly in the Blue Ridge Pkwy, Mabry Mill, which was built in 1910, is known for its beauty, as well as a look back to pioneer life. Mabry Mill is so beautiful, that it’s not surprisingly, one of the most photographed spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Of course, in the back of my mind, I was considering whom I could capture in front of it with my camera.
The country restaurant adjacent to the Mill offers some tasty country cooking, that is well worth the wait! The country steak was delicious, but please don’t tell my mom. The walks around the Mill and the restaurant bring a sense of calm and peace. It’s well worth the visit. The next shooting location was a hit, and many locals came to watch the shoot. It was thrilling to say the least! As the day came to a close, my trip back to Roanoke was filled with thoughts of coming back to Floyd and capturing some of the old buildings, or beautiful landscapes that were endless.
Shooting Pin Up adventures with the beautifully restored cars by Johnny Dalton hasn’t ended. Our most recent project was a classic 2014 Pin Up Calendar for Dalton’s Auto Restoration, featuring beautiful girls and cars from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. Floyd has become a staple in my work and I hope to continue the travels and enjoy more of its vast beauty for recreation, and perhaps I will just leave my camera behind. Or not.
Kimberley Izatt Photography