Don't get me started on George Masa (1881-1933). A person could spend years investigating the mysteries surrounding the life and work of the Japanese photographer who came to Asheville a century ago. (Actually, people have.) More on this in a future post.
Dry Falls, 1929 and 2009
But for today, here's an accidental then and now pairing. I visited the newly reopened Dry Falls access area on US 64 in the Cullasaja Gorge this week. After returning home, I happened upon a Masa photo of Dry Falls taken in 1929. Though one of my shots was taken from a higher vantage point, I'm not sure I could have recreated the exact view that Masa had. Given the abundant vegetation of the hillside facing the falls, this is probably as close as we'll get to matching the shot from eighty years ago.
An exhibition of George Masa photgraphs will open at Western Carolina University's Fine Arts Museum on Saturday, August 1, with an opening reception from 2:00 to 4:00. And if you've never seen the Paul Bonesteel documentary, The Mystery of George Masa, you've been missing something really special.
Back to Dry Falls - after a long, long closure, it is open again, with a new and improved parking lot. Also, a catwalk paralleling US 64 provides handicap access for a nice view of the falls (including the scene above). I was worried that they might have "messed up" the trail that leads down to and behind the falls. Certainly, it could have used some work, but if any significant repairs were made to that trail I couldn't tell. Not a problem, though. I'm just happy to get back to one of my favorite waterfalls in these parts.
Here's another Masa image and, appropriately enough, I'm not sure where it was taken. But the play of light is this photograph is striking.
Masa photo of Dry Falls courtesy of the Highlands Historical Society, Inc.
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