Anna Phillips likes to share her love for Georgia’s natural beauty and historic places with the photographs she takes whenever she travels around the state.
Two of her photos recently were selected by the Georgia Department of Transportation to appear on the 2015-16 Georgia State Map.
“I am so excited to have my photos selected for the state map,” said Phillips, who is Hinesville’s geographic information system coordinator. “I found the state-map photo contest on the GDOT website. (Because I deal) with maps, I look for data at all levels of government.”
The pictures selected by GDOT include a Wheeler County cotton field in full bloom with an old building and a line of trees in the background. Another picture reveals a road leading to Dungeness on Cumberland Island. Moss-covered oaks and palmettos line each side of the white, sandy road that leads up to stained, white-granite gate columns.
“I like historic places,” she said. “I see the grace in what something was before it is now — ruins or gone. The road to Dungeness on Cumberland Island is such. ... (I like) things like a cellar window (or) road with the gate at the end (or) old cars. The shadows will never be the same again when I go there, so I have to photograph them as they come by.”
GDOT business analyst Kiisa Wiegand said the new maps with Phillips’ photos will be printed at the end of the year.
Phillips referred to the GDOT website as “cool” because all highway projects are listed and mapped out. This information helps her and her husband plan weekend getaways by knowing where to expect road construction. She said she entered the contest before but gained no recognition. She also had a photo show at the Hinesville Area Art Council gallery in November 2012.
Phillips likes to make screensavers and desktop backgrounds of some of her favorite photos, which she refers to as “trip souvenirs.”
Phillips said she was given her first black-and-white, point-and-click camera when she was in the first grade. Her fascination with photography grew from there.
The photos selected by GDOT were taken with a Canon Sure Shot, she said. She’s now “upgraded” to an Olympus XA-31NR, which gives her a little more zoom and a wide angle.
She has stated that she does not think of herself as a professional photographer.
Philllips then added, “I can at least dream.”
She talked about the cotton-field photo, which holds a special meaning for her. Whenever she sees a cotton field, Phillips said she can’t help thinking about her mother.
“My mama was a child of the cotton fields in Missouri,” Phillips said. “My grandparents were sharecroppers, and they had all their children picking cotton during picking time. I heard many stories about Mama as a kid and the cotton fields. They were in the cotton field when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Mom was hiding in the cotton field when Dad came to pick her up on their first date.”
Phillips said her favorite story was when her mom was about 8 years old. She already had picked enough cotton in her youth that she knew if her sack weighed more, she would get paid more.
“Being a smart little kid, she had picked down to the end of the row of cotton and found two bricks,” she said. “Thinking that would make her bag heavier, she put them in her sack and picked more cotton. When weighing time came, the old fellow doing the weighing knew about what the sack should weigh, but it was a little heavier. Digging around in Mom’s cotton sack, he found two old bricks ... From then on, Mom was known as the ‘brick picker.’ Yes, I can see the ‘brick picker’ in most cotton fields as I drive by.”