Vann Helms is a native born North Carolinian who lived in Miami for over 50 years. Now as a permanent resident of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he is discovering the beauty of a land as old as time. Having come of age as a mural painter, he now turns his creative juices toward photography in a major way. He wants you to see the world through his eyes, and experience the magnificence of this incredible area of America.

13 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Vann,

    It’s Adriana. Sharon shared your Blog with me love your photographs. What a magical place to live.
    You look great. I am glad you are doing so well.


  2. Hi, Vann: Discovered your blog by accident, looking for 19th century travelers’ accounts. Your post on the Colton book is wonderful. I have all sorts of references to similar books, but not this one, and it is the only one I’ve found that discusses routes, gaps, etc., specifically. BTW: I have two other Colton references to pieces he published in Appleton’s Journal, 1870-71. Answer by email, and I will send links to you. Would be interested in your reactions to my new (only 5-6 posts so far) blog, which I hope you will follow. I am doing a different sort of thing from your blog, but the two are related. You might find it interesting. I grew up in Asheville, too; my father worked at American Enka, and we lived in the Enka village. Best of luck with your blog! David

    • Dear David,

      I was born in Charlotte, but grew up in Miami, where I just happen to be this week. I moved to the Lake Lure region five years ago. Best thing I ever did. I would love to see the other Colton books. I’ll be enjoying your blog later today. I leave for home on Thursday. I REALLY miss the mountains…. ALOT! Vann Helms

  3. Dear Vann,

    Your photographs are spectacular! As a native Tarheel, It feels like home. I stumbled across your photos when searching for beautiful nature images to use on the website I’m developing for the non-profit I work for in Kansas City. Would you be willing to give or sell rights to the photo–Hickory Creek (Rare Pink Foliage along the Blue Ridge)?

    Thank you. I cannot wait to hear back from you! –Marige

  4. Hi, Vann — I found your blog yesterday and look forward to seeing much more of your past and future posts. Your photography is breathtaking, plus the wealth of information is very much appreciated. Although I don’t believe that we have ever met, we are related — you had expressed your condolences in an online guest book after my mother, Velma Ratcliffe, passed away in August 2013 and mentioned that your mother was one of my Daddy’s (Frank Ratcliffe) half-sisters. Regretfully, I did not contact many back then but was looking over the comments again yesterday and went to the web address you had listed for your blog. Daddy, in particular, would have loved your photographs as he loved the mountains. Possibly you are familiar with the area around Linville Falls and Newland where he bought 375 acres and had talked about building a golf course before he died in 1977. The main way to reach the property was by Brushy Creek Road, where a small airport is located, as well as a mining operation. Momma sold it shortly after his death and although I have not been up there in many years, I had looked up the area on Google Earth last week and hope to go up there later this year to see how things have changed. You are truly gifted, and I am very thankful to be able to view your work!

    Warm regards,
    Franiece Ratcliffe Thresher

  5. Came across your blog looking for local waterfalls to photograph. Love your photos! I live in Fairview and travel down Cedar Creek over to Lake Lure. Was wondering if you could share the route to High Falls on Taylor Creek?

  6. Hey Vann,
    I came across your name in Orange on the Blind Pig and the Acorn today. Those are the most beautiful
    pictures I’ve ever seen. I live at Topton, N.C. most of my life and love it, especially in the Wintertime. I
    love cold weather. Thank you for commenting on Tipper’s blog, otherwise I might never know what an
    Artist really looks like…Ken

  7. Like Ken of Tipton stated, I was fortunate to see your name on the Blind Pig and the acorn. You and Tipper open your lives and your experiences and your photos of the glorious Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains which is extraordinarily Special to us Deep South folks “from away”..
    We made the long trip from South LA nearly every fall or spring since the 80’s. There is no place more inspiring to us.
    Your journey down down Mill Creek Road on the ice literally took my breath away. You must be exceedingly strong in spirit to make that perilous drive. At Every switchback, I gasped just like I used to do on our forays into all the back roads we could find — albeit on Dry roads.
    What is it about the mountains, hollers, valleys of Western N C that brings such Joy unspeakable !
    As John Muir said “The mountains are calling me” ~ yes they are. And we hear them!
    Many thanks for your outstanding photos ~ each one I see reminds me just how hard I need to work on recovering so that we can once more make those rides up and down every kind of road, from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the 2 lane forest roads where every curve brings delight !

    • Thank you Anne for those very kind words. If I can bring a glimmer of excitement into your life with my photos and words, I have succeeded in my mission. I hope you can once again get back to these amazing Mountains, and let me know when you plan to be here. I would love to meet you, and sit down to talk about that which we both love so much. Vann Helms

  8. I am sad to report that my brother Vann passed away July 8th, 2022 from complications related to his 2008 throat cancer. Vann loved his life, his friends, and sharing his Blue Ridge Impressions with his thousands of visitors over the years. Vann’s images present the natural beauty and history of the Blue Ridge mountains as he explored the byways and country roads near his home.

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