The phrase is also the title of a new and definitive book about St. Simons Island from the University of Georgia Press. “Island Time, An Illustrated History of St. Simons Island, Georgia” both chronicles and captures the island’s vast history and stunning beauty through the eyes of two natives. It is written by third-generation islander Jingle Davis, and illustrated with over 170 contemporary color photographs by Benjamin Galland, a first generation native. They were born in different decades, yet their collaborative work is built upon their extensive knowledge of and love for their island home.
Davis has worked as a professional journalist for more than 30 years, much of which was spent writing about south Georgia and the Georgia coast. During that period, she spent more than 20 years working for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a freelance writer, reporter and city editor. After obtaining a college degree in visual communications, and a stint in Florence, Italy, Galland returned home in 2001. He’s an enthusiastic outdoorsman, and a friend of Davis’s recommended that he would be the type of photographer to bring the book’s history and environment vividly to life. Over the four-year project, Davis would send copy to Galland, which would inspire him to shoot; in turn, his pictures would trigger narrative for her. Together they have created a compelling perspective, yielding a book that has a timeless appeal.
And what a life story this island and its community have to share! Through historical narrative, quotes, and anecdotes, Davis takes readers from prehistoric peoples to present day. There are accounts of the three giant shell rings on the island’s north end and the diverse cultures of the area’s indigenous peoples; European conquerors, pirates and privateers; settlers and ministers; aristocratic antebellum plantation life and its slave history; the early 20th century move toward modernity and finally, the challenges of managing the island’s phenomenal growth while maintaining the unique charm and strong sense of community which draws so many here. Accompanied by historical photographs and maps, Galland’s expert photography, driven by his relentless curiosity and visual acumen, has infused new spirit into long-beloved icons, and resulted in many more images that will become the enduring impressions of St. Simons Island.
“Island Time” is well researched, engagingly written, and beautifully presented. It’s an essential book for anyone interested in the story of St. Simons Island conveyed by two people who know it well and love it deeply.