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This place shuns folks who try to claim it, but it’ll shun them with a gracious wonder. So its hills press themselves into ancient creases –hollers and valleys that can only be seen once. If you’re audacious enough to try tracking them down, sooner or later, they’ll wrap you in a coy fog. The clumsy pines steal that mist only to drop it, and you soak it up and sweat it out until your hair mats against your face and your shirt sucks at your back while the woods settle their bones into a chair. He has nowhere else to be and his story picks up at a place that feels familiar, and you realize when he dozes off that he never asked your name.

All photos were made in Western North Carolina with a Nikon FE on Kodak TMax 400 film.