Founded in the late 17th century, the city of Charleston is ancient by American standards. By turns a college town and tourist trap, its litany of well-preserved architecture can make it seem like a movie set. This ersatz feeling is intensified by the city’s surroundings, a mix of drab backcountry communities and resort towns.
A recent stopover there gave me ample time for exploration. My intention: To determine whether Charleston’s charm was authentic or if the city had morphed into little more than a simulacrum.
I admit I didn’t ultimately find an answer to my question. But at least I tried.
Photography Zach Pontz