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Shenandoah: Views of Our Natural Park

From Yosemite to Menokin

Organic: Photographs of the Natural World

Menokin: Reimagining a Ruin


This Land is Our Land

Images of Nature

see all past exhibit dates & locations

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Traveling Exhibit
Views of Our National Park
Photography by Hullihen Williams Moore

see all past exhibit dates & locations


This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,

                                      Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, 1847

Forest primeval. Woodland wilderness. Sylvan sanctuary. Greenwood. By whatever evocative term it is described, the untamed forest has mystified, challenged, and inspired American society and history from its beginnings. It provides shelter and solace to those souls seeking relief from the strictures of life or those overwhelmed with the journey; cover to outlaws and fugitives; and, for both, the promise of rebirth and reemergence.

For photographer Hullihen Williams Moore, the forests of the Shenandoah National Park have provided years of inspiration and discovery as he and his camera have traveled paths both worn and new, treading the fine line between observation and intrusion. Moore’s lush yet precise photographs offer what writer and photographer Robert Adams calls the three verities of landscape photography: geography, autobiography, and metaphor.

The photographs show us a very specific place in the southern Appalachian mountains of Virginia. Although much of the land was settled and parts of it had been farmed and logged, brochures written in the 1920s and early 1930s described the proposed park as a sort of wilderness—an Eden—untouched by man. The long work of establishing the park required major efforts to convince the federal government that, once established, the park would become a visible testament to the forest’s ability to revitalize itself; unfortunately, it also required the forcible removal of residents and the destruction of their homes. Throughout the Park there are visible signs of previous habitation: crumbling chimneys, cracked foundations, and many small graveyards.

These exquisite photographs convey a sense of personal and natural history on many levels. First, and most evident, is the photographer’s record of his visual and emotional relationship with the landscape. He has returned year after year on journeys of discovery and of reconsideration, seeking the new yet always returning to the old. Documenting changes wrought by both growth and destruction with his camera, Moore captures the ongoing biography of this very particular place.

The photographer says that despite the constant vigilance and proactive care that must be taken to fight off the current threats of water and air pollution, and human intrusion,

Shenandoah is indeed the refuge it was meant to be: a protected, special, and beautiful place. The air is cool, and the vistas can be spectacular and beautiful. The columbine and wild geraniums bloom and grow, the ferns push aside last year’s leaves, vigorous evidence of renewal. The water that flows over the six falls in Whiteoak Canyon shines and sprays as magnificently as it did a thousand years ago. The smooth stones on Old Rag that made the Native Americans wonder are still cause for wonder.

It is perhaps in the realm of metaphor that Moore’s gifts truly reveal themselves. His clear and forthright photographs may appear to be simply beautiful images of trees, flowers, and the occasional waterfall. A moment’s investigation, however, reveals the artist’s ability to move beyond the apparent to what Adams refers to as “the second that looks inexplicably right.” With the most compelling viewpoint or angle, the richest light, or the strongest shadow, Moore makes obvious that which we already know, but may have forgotten or overlooked.

He aims his camera at the forest floor, littered with decay and the detritus of previous life, and through the grace of his vision, we see in it the incubation of new life. He shows us water as we have never seen it, falling and spraying with delight in its own energy. He gives us the gift of pause in the image of a single wildflower. American poet William Carlos Williams said, “poets write for a single reason—to give witness to splendor.” That, above all else, is the unselfish and poetic bequest of Hullihen Williams Moore’s photographs. Splendor.

Eileen B. Mott
Exhibition Curator, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts


"From Yosemite to Menokin"
Photography by Hullihen Williams Moore

Images in this show depict the mysterious beauty of rural Virginia—its mountains, majestic trees, shimmering water, and soaring clouds. Moore’s prints present intimate studies, or portraits, of nature’s artistry and show his enthusiasm for the subject matter with a poet’s eye for meticulous detail.

Organic: Photographs of the Natural World
Photography by Various Artists, including Hullihen Williams Moore

From scientific to symbolic, images of nature have played an integral role in the history of photography. As the impulse to make images of flowers and trees runs deep through the photographic tradition, this exhibition offers diverse perspectives, ranging from sincere attempts to convey the beauty and wonder of the natural world to critical commentaries on the tension between humankind and nature.

Whether reverent or cynical, however, none of the works on view offers sweeping vistas. Instead these photographs present intimate studies, sometimes focusing only on an individual plant, making them more akin to portraits than to landscapes. Nearly a third of the photographers whose works are included here have roots in Virginia, bringing their subjects even closer to home.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Aldine S. Hartman Fund

The Menokin Project: Re-imagining a Ruin
Color photographs by Hullihen Williams Moore
Black and white photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston

Hullie's images of Menokin were last displayed in the Botetourt Gallery in the Swem Library at the College of William & Mary in an exhibit titled "Through Their Eyes: A Photographic Journey". Click here to see the Exhibit Book.

Photography by Hullihen Williams Moore

Seven of Hullie's images were on display in a show called "2D-3D" from October 16 – November 13, 2009 at Gallery 606 in Ashland, VA.

This Land is Our Land
Photography by Hullihen Williams Moore

Twelve of Hullie's images from California, Virginia and Wyoming were displayed in the Richmond International Airport terminal from February 10 - June 15, 2009 as part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts "Art at the Airport" exhibit. Click here for more information

Images of Nature
Photography by Hullihen Williams Moore

This exhibit presented 20” x 24” silver emulsion prints with images from Yosemite, Yellowstone, Tetons, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks, as well as views from western Virginia. Most of the work had never been exhibited before. The exhibit ran from October 7 – November 1, 2005 at Gallery 5800 in Richmond, VA.





Board Detail, Cabin Remains

Dark Hollow Falls

Ice Orb and Lace

Flood Tree Remains, Moormans River

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