George Alexander Grant set out to be a park ranger, but once he discovered photography, he dedicated himself to the craft and eventually became the first chief photographer for the National Park Service.
That was in 1929, and during his life, he took somewhere between 30-40,000 photos for the National Park Service. Grant, though, isn’t a household name like other prodigious landscape photographers like Ansel Adams, but his work has been widely circulated. It lives in pamphlets, textbooks and even a Ken Burns documentary, credited solely to the National Park Service, not Grant.
Two Atlanta authors and photographers have highlighted Grant’s contribution to documenting national parks. Ren and Helen Davis put together a book of his photography. The book, called “Landscapes for the People,” includes 170 images and an introduction to the man.
“[In his photos], that’s where I see the beauty, the majesty that we have preserved in our national parks,” said Helen Davis. “And how important it is in the centennial of the Park Service year to be celebrating this wonderful gift we have.”
The National Park Service celebrates its centenary on Aug. 25. Ren and Helen Davis will speak about their books and the Park Service at the Fort Frederica National Monument on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m., and at the Fort Pulaski National Monument on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m.