John Moran photography captures Florida magic

In order to get a head start on knowing my way around north central Florida, I subscribed to the Gainesville Sun about a year before I moved from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Williston, Florida. On the front page of one issue was a photograph that portrayed the threat of development to Florida better than than anything I’ve ever seen or read.

The photo was a close-up of a gopher tortoise, looking up, dismayed, at the overpowering blade of a bulldozer. It was by a Gainesville Sun photographer, John Moran. That was about 23 years ago. I’ve never been able to find that picture, but I’ve never forgotten it either. Maybe some day I’ll be bold enough to write him and ask for a copy.

Moran left the Sun several years ago to devote himself entirely to capturing the quickly disappearing Florida landscape on film. He is one of a number of photographers–albeit the most prominent–who spend their days and nights sloshing through swamps, diving springs and hiking through dense hammock to sit, watch, wait till the sun is just right or the heron moves just so. if Florida is saved from developers and the politicians who work for them, we can thank these photographers for their efforts at bringing the glories of the land and water to the public’s attention.

Please take a look at some of John Moran’s photographs. Sorry, I haven’t figured out how to insert links, but you can copy this URL to your browser.


Author: Skipper Hammond

Skipper Hammond was born on the edge of Charlotte, N.C. in a time, in a neighborhood where children were free to play. She and her friends ran, biked, rode, explored and read. The entire neighborhood was their stage for the continuing plays Skipper created based on the stories they read. Cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, British and American,Yankee and Confederate armies romped through woods, across fields and creeks, up and down streets until good guys prevailed or softball and hopscotch season arrived.  Then she grew up and went to the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Tar Heel legislators at the time saw no reason to finance economics education for women, but Skipper contrived a major in economics by cobbling credits in business and history. Involvement in a series of strikes by textile workers led to graduate work at Cornell with a masters in Labor Union History and several years of union organizing in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.  After marriage and the birth of her son and daughter, Skipper, then living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, worked at jobs where she could punch out—stitcher, machinist, assembly worker, candy maker, database designer, economics journal editor—and still have the energy needed for the real work of political organizing for social and economic justice.  Her political work took the form primarily of writing and editing for movement publications, and when she moved from Cambridge to a farm in rural north central Florida, she began writing for the Ocala Star-Banner and Gainesville Sun, then founded the Williston Pioneer, where she was publisher, editor, reporter, ad salesperson and janitor. She also raised goats. She currently divides her time, unequally, between Williston, Florida, where she continues playing in the woods, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she invents stories. 

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