Spirit of the South


There are photographers who are technicians, who can competently “get the shot, ” who are motivated purely by skill, a good “eye, ” and what their “head” tells them to shoot.

And then there are photographers who have an inner knowing of exactly when to press the shutter release because they listen with their heart instead of their head; photographers adept at capturing the fragile, magical moments; photographers who can tell the simple, elegant, and complex story of life in one deep, piercing image.

Fontaine Radcliff Howard is one such photographer.

I received the first draft of this book when the beauty of our beloved Gulf Coast was under siege by the largest
environmental disaster to ever occur in the United States, a tragedy that dumped literally millions of gallons of oil into our precious waters, threatening the ecosystem of the Gulf and all its entities.

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There was a pervasive anxiety and sadness floating among coastal residents in the face of this disaster, and what the news media called the possible loss of our “lifestyle.” Even in the midst of my dog-eared optimism, I found it difficult to articulate a definition of what made up that “lifestyle” and wondered how we could ever communicate adequately how shattered we all felt and why. Then I leafed through the pages of “Spirit of the South” and quite literally exclaimed, “This is it!” This is what is at stake for us. Not just the possible loss of our livelihood and recreation, but the loss of the natural habitat that touches our soul and lives through us as our Southern spirit, our birthright. This wasn’t just a loss of our “lifestyle, ” this was our home.

Fontaine has captured those magical moments in nature, of absolute life-force, that inspire the emotional fabric of our distinct Southern flavor and passionate devotion to our life, our land, and our sea. By seeing with her heart, Fontaine has given us all an incredible gift of beauty and healing.

Excerpt from “Spirit of the South, ” © 2010 “Spirit of the South” is available at fontainehoward.com

Lucy “Lulu” Buffet

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