Michael Crane for Sports Illustrated

I made the drive over to Warrior, Alabama recently to take a few portraits of Michael Crane, who quite possibly has the wildest story I’ve heard of in the media business. One of the best EVS (a video-editing apparatus that pulls short clips from multiple cameras) editors in the country, he was working the 2007 Masters … when he decided to rob a bank. Now, he’s trying to rebuild his life.

You can check out the full story here.

Esports during Coronavirus Pandemic for The New York Times

Tyler Mercer, 24 (left), and Chris Caldwell, 23, play in an e-sports tournament at Newnan Esports in Newnan, Ga., on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Photo by Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve written a news story, but a piece I worked on for the The New York Times published today (my first byline in the Times!).

It’s a story I pitched about an e-sports tournament down in Newnan, Ga. that took place a little over a week ago. Normally, this would unlikely be a news story. But in the reality that coronavirus has dealt us, with nearly all sporting events postponed or cancelled, any sliver of competition offers solace.

Delta’s Response to Coronavirus for The Washington Post

The full impact of coronavirus has yet to be felt, but the financial damage to the airline industry has been staggering. To get a better look at how Delta is responding to the quickly changing reality of a world facing a pandemic, The Washington Post sent me to Delta’s headquarters and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. You can read the full story here.

Olympic Marathon Trials for The New York Times

Sally Kipyego (draped in flag) embraces Abdi Abdirahman as Galen Rupp (far right) looks on during the 2020 U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Atlanta on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2020. Sally Kipyego finished third in the women’s race; Abdi Abdirahman came in third and Galen Rupp finished first in the men’s. Photo by Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times

The trials for the 2020 Olympic marathon were held this past weekend here in downtown Atlanta, and the Times asked me to cover them. It was a pretty simple but brutal selection process — the top three finishers from men and women (six total) will be going to Tokyo. Perhaps one of the coolest things about these trials is that a record number of women qualified to compete. Here are a few of my favorite photographs from the event.

Photos of the Year 2018

2018 NLDS

As we start a new year, I’m taking a look back at 2018 and sharing my favorite images. It was an amazing year, and I’m continually reminded of how lucky I am to make a living taking pictures. I’ve gone through everything I shot over the past 12 months, and narrowed it down to 25 photographs. They are presented here in chronological order, and include sports, political assignments and personal stories, as well as a few previously unpublished images from my personal and commercial work. Where possible, links are provided.

Vic Beasley, Jr. for The Players’ Tribune

Spent some time recently with Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley, Jr., for The Players’ Tribune. Beasley was being interviewed for a series, “Take Action,” sponsored by American Family Insurance. I was given a few minutes for portraits with the 25-year-old, in between filming, and I also documented his day as he made rounds in his hometown of Adairsville, Ga. Above: Beasley poses for a portrait in the same locker he used in high school, at Adairsville High.

The video is about Beasley’s commitment to his hometown, helping out those in need, and just trying to be a good dude. And I have to say, he may be the most down-to-earth professional athlete I’ve ever worked with. He was genuine, and talked with me well past we were finished with the portrait session. That may sound like a small thing, but most athletes are ready to jet as soon as soon as the shoot is finished. It’s easy to see why it’s so easy for Beasley to come back to his hometown and blend in with the regulars. Well, as much as a 6-foot-3, 246-pound guy can blend in :-)

Big thanks to Nate Gordon and Eugenia Chow at TPT.

Part of gallery sponsored by Redux and the School of Visual Arts

I am so honored to have a photograph (above) in the gallery, “YEAR ONE: A Visual Reflection of the First Year of the Trump Presidency,” which opened on Jan. 31 and runs through Feb. 9. It is a collaboration between Redux Pictures and SVA BFA Photography, and features the work of Redux Pictures, VII, Noor and The New York Times photographers. You can check it out at SVA’s 2nd Floor Gallery at 214 East 21st Street.

Ebenezer Baptist Church Service for The New York Times

Today, on the eve of celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, I worked as part of a team of New York Times journalists covering services at African-American churches around the country. We talked to churchgoers and pastors, and photographed services to get a sense of how the black community is reacting to President Trump’s recent comments about Haiti, El Salvador, and certain African nations.

NCAA Football National Championship for Sports Illustrated

As someone who grew up 20 miles from Athens, Ga., and in a household where Bear Bryant’s stature rivaled that of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, I fully understood how epic Monday’s game was. I know how bad Georgia fans craved another national championship — their last taste of one was way back in 1981, when Herschel Walker and Co. handled Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl. And I know how hard it is stop the seemingly undefeatable Nick Saban once his Tide gets rolling.

Photos of the Year 2017

This year, my sixth as a full-time independent photographer, was another full one. I am so eternally grateful the work that comes my way … the things I am privileged to witness, the people who allow me into their lives and trust me to tell their stories. In 2017, that work included photographing a former U.S. President, the last Falcons game at the Georgia Dome, lots and lots of politics, telling the stories of residents on Atlanta’s historic Westside, a wedding that ended with a Waffle House kiss, running around in the woods with a militia, and an amazing Iron Bowl. These are my favorite images from the past year. Thank you for taking the time to look, and here’s to a stellar 2018!