My guess is that, if you are a photog of any length of days, you have your own worn favorites—vistas, buildings, places, details from your life—that recur over and over in your image archives.
Such places that ground us in place, such special features in our local lives are iconic. They ground us and help tell us who and where we are. They are sacred in a way, and have disproportionate meaning—perhaps only to us, but maybe to our community with some larger reach of significance.
Floyd County icons include Buffalo Mountain; the rock churches; Schoolhouse Fabrics; Mabry Mill; downtown and the Country Store.
Our iconic places form part of our identity by which we know the world and are known by it.
I think about our neighbors around the planet whose iconic places have been devastated by hurricane, typhoon, earthquake and flood. Just like that, a centuries-old village and all its special places of the heart are gone, never to return. Heartbreaking.
But perhaps even more so might be the pain of losing iconic places to ignorance, violence, greed and indifference.
I fantasize: a mining company that owns the rights to or has irresistible power over southwest Virginia comes to mine some rare mineral and takes the town, the special place, even Buffalo Mountain down to bedrock.
Welcome to Mountaintop Removal; to rainforest destruction; to sea-rise loss of Arctic coastal villages. The Iconoclasts of today are very very active and powerful (natural and national alike.) And place by place becomes placeless.
The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson