The database helps in the study of the photography of Jorge Massa

This photo by Jorge Massa of Lake Junaluska exudes a sense of peace.

Angelyn Whitmeyer may be the last person you’d expect to contribute to the ongoing search for a Japanese photographer who found inspiration in the Great Smoky Mountains. However, the world is beginning to learn more about some cutting-edge early photographs and the unlikely hero of Great Smoky Mountains National Park through Whitmire’s new George Massa photo database.

As a child growing up in Columbus, Ohio, Whitmire doesn’t remember ever visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She also did not have a strong background in photography.

“Taking photos wasn’t something we did very often in my family,” she says. “I distinctly remember my conservative use of film after I got a small camera in 1970. Should I use black and white, or would color be better? Film processing was another cost I had to take into account.

Angeline Whitmire

Whitmire earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Kent State University and began her career teaching first and second grade in southeastern Ohio. She switched to computer programming, became a certified public accountant, and moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1979. A photographer friend showed her how to process black-and-white images in the darkroom, creating a negative and print. She purchased a 35 mm camera to film scenes she found during her travels to audit credit unions throughout North Carolina, and remained parsimonious in her use of film.

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