Sometimes, if we are very lucky, we find home. This is not always the place you live, but it is the place where you find solace, a place that your heart recognizes. For photographer Echard Wheeler, that place is First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. At one time maritime forests covered much of the East Coast and almost all of Virginia Beach. Now, they are rare and endangered. First Landing may be the only place available in the region to get a sense of the area in prehistoric times. Echard Wheeler craves this connection. He travels deep into the park, walking miles to discover the life and beauty within.
The land has borne witness to birth, growth, violence and death. The old-growth trees remember the early inhabitants, the Chesepian tribe made extinct by the Powhatans. They reveal nature's patterns and cycles underneath their canopy. Wheeler is patient. He is willing to wait and find the stillness, allowing his surroundings to speak to him. It is within those moments that he captures the parks secrets and shares them with us. The black and white photographs are lush and detailed. Wheeler’s images capture the intrinsic beauty found in the cycles of life in the park. But, you can only see them with patient looking.
Echard Wheeler is a fine art and commercial photographer residing in Virginia Beach. Two of his works exploring life at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront were included in New Waves 2018.
Echard Wheeler: In Stillness is organized by the Virginia MOCA and curated by Heather Hakimzadeh, Curator.