International publication to feature Gaineswood

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — Gaineswood, long known locally for its history and beauty, will soon get a chance for a little larger renown. It has been chosen as one of 39 homes from 13 Southern states to be featured in “Great Houses of the South.”

“We’re just thrilled to be included in this publication,” Eleanor Cunningham, director of Gaineswood, said.

A photography crew was at the historic site Tuesday to take both interior and exterior photographs of Gaineswood. Gaineswood is one of three homes in Alabama to go into the book, along with Fendall Hall in Eufala and The Oaks at Tuskegee.

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“Gaineswood was actually the first one to be chosen from Alabama,” Laurie Ossman, who is helping to coordinate the project, said.

Ossman said when the publishing company began compiling a list of sites to consider, she asked a colleague about Gaineswood as a possibility. She said she had seen many exterior shots of the home but not many of the inside.

“He asked me what I wanted to know,” she said. “Just go there, he told me.”

And so she did.

Gaineswood is the first stop on their tour of Alabama, and they plan to spend one day at each of the properties. Ossman said their goal with the project is to present historic homes from before WWII in a range of settings.

Steven Brooke is the chief photographer on the project, and has done work on historical homes in Virginia, Florida and architecture all over the world. Brooke recently transitioned from film to digital camera, a process that has made photo shoots much speedier than they used to be, he said.

“The creative possibilities are just so much greater,” he said.

His work on past projects and also his knowledge of the subject matter he shoots makes their tight shooting schedule work. In his experience, Brooke said, Gaineswood is a place with a great deal of beauty to be captured.

Ossman said in recent years there has been a trend of people moving the South, which has added momentum to a movement called heritage tourism. This is where people go out and tour places in an effort to learn more about their history.

The publication is scheduled to be released by Christmas 2009 and distributed internationally.