Alumni Ink: Early Thought Leader Captures Natural Beauty

Authors Ren Davis 73C and Helen Davis 89G preserve the work of a brilliant photographer who documented our country's national parks.

By Michelle Valigursky

Story Photo

George Alexander Grant is an unknown elder in the field of American landscape photography. Just as with the work of his contemporaries Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eliot Porter, and others, millions of people viewed Grant’s photographs; unlike those contemporaries, few even knew Grant’s name.

In the newest book by Render Davis 73C and Helen Davis 89G, Landscapes for the People shares Grant’s story through his remarkable images and a compelling biography profiling patience, perseverance, dedication, and an unsurpassed love of the natural and historic places that Americans chose to preserve.

A Pennsylvania native, Grant was introduced to the parks during the summer of 1922 and resolved to make parks work and photography his life. Seven years later, he received his dream job and spent the next quarter century visiting the four corners of the country to produce images in more than 100 national parks, monuments, historic sites, battlefields, and other locations. He was there to visually document the dramatic expansion of the National Park Service during the New Deal, including the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Grant’s images are the work of a master craftsman. His practiced eye for composition and exposure and his patience to capture subjects in their finest light are comparable to those of his more widely known contemporaries. Nearly 50 years after his death, and in concert with the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service, it is fitting that George Grant’s photography be introduced to a new generation of Americans.

Ren and Helen Davis

Meet the Authors

The Davises share, “We will be giving a presentation about George Grant and our book at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library on Tuesday, December 1. It is a special Atlanta Celebrates Photography event and will also feature a talk by UGA Press author and photographer Andrew Feiler who will speak about his book, Without Regard to Race, Creed, or Color, a photographic history of Morris Brown College. The event is from 6:00 - 9:30 pm and will include a gallery reception and book signing.”

To learn more about the books of Ren and Helen Davis, please visit www.davisguides.com.

Email the editor

Michelle Valigursky