Florida Photographer Racing to Capture History

Old Florida Travels with Harriet Duncan from Megan Hyde on Vimeo.


Signage, buildings, and old Florida businesses are some of the work that Harriet Duncan, a local artist and photographer, seeks out.  Duncan, who has photography and Graphic Design specializations, has found herself exploring her interest in traveling to find old Florida locations since 2011.  That year, as Duncan transitioned to new career opportunities from Interior Design, she returned to an interest in art from a photographic standpoint.


Duncan looks for moments to venture out and capture shots that will speak to many generations.  Personally, she continues to see these places before they disappear, because as she says, “once these spots are gone, that’s it.”  As Duncan tells a story of her adventures, she offers dedicated insight and a thoroughness that allows one to feel as though they were in the moment with her.  Duncan radiates excitement and her passion for this work is incredibly apparent.


When it comes to finding any historical adventure, Duncan has a process she follows.  Once she hears about a particular spot, she looks it up, learns what’s interesting about it, checks the historic list of monuments she utilizes, and then makes her route.  There are not many journeys that involve big highways and interstates though; back roads filled with potential mini stops speak right to this artist.  Harriet believes this makes what she is doing so worth; the idea of what she may find along the way completely intrigues her.


When Duncan first began her explorations, she borrowed a camera from a friend while she looked for images.  Fast-forward, Duncan now not only has her own camera, but a travel companion so that she can ride along and focus on her craft.  She explains how it is important to zone in on the moment and just look.  If something speaks to you, she says, “then you stop.”  So far, some of her voyages have led to Vero Beach; Cocoa Beach; Fort Myers, and Lake Wales, just to name a few.  Her photo journal shows her travels and the work, which comes to fruition from her old Florida interests.


Duncan surmises Henri Cartier-Bresson’s quote to be most fitting to her goals and her motivation to do what she is doing every chance she gets: “Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing & when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”