Charity Ponter Photography

Forrest Millsap: studio shoot

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Forrest Millsap

Blacksmith and Sculptor in his workshop

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from the for the beauty of: Birmingham book

Chiharu Roach: studio shoot

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Chiharu Roach

Visual artist and painter at her studio and home

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from the for the beauty of: Birmingham book

Lacy Hicks: a southern discovery

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Lacy Hicks

Jack of all trades and proprietor of his secluded, hand-built homestead in Haileyville, Alabama


I got lost while driving through the middle-of-nowhere Alabama and took the best wrong turn of my life. Crossing over wide-open railroad tracks, I bounced down a long, skinny road and hoped against all odds that there would be someone at the end of it who could give me directions.

I blinked ten times and shook my head, fearing delirium from the heat at the sight that appeared. Framed by my truck windshield was a multi-acre yard, completely covered with massive rock-animals and twirling propellers, shiny steel sculptures sending a blinding glare into my very-wide eyes. The crown jewel on the hillside was what appeared to be a cabin-castle, surrounded as if by a moat with water-ways and impressive stone walls.

As I recovered from my shock, I met Mr. Lacy hicks, unloading buckets of dirt from the back of his red pick up truck, proprietor and stone/metal/wood/mechanical artist who happily gave me the grand tour, my small point-and-shoot camera in-hand, and welcomed me back anytime (“Just show up, I don’t have a telephone.”)

Over the past 80 years, His mother birthed ten children and they stayed together in the “holler”, all living siblings still neighbors to this day in what is now the ghost-town of Glen Mary – a mining town that was settled in 1895.