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.
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.
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!
Shaq Jones’ heart stayed at UAB, even when football left. The football program there was shut down at the end of the 2014 season, after his freshman year — school officials cited finances as the reason. “I guess it’s hard to acknowledge that the thing that makes you who you are can be taken away in an instant if the bottom line falls short,” he said.
Now a (redshirt) senior, the 250-pound linebacker will play his final collegiate season under the same head coach where he started. These photos are from my time with Shaq a few weeks ago. Such a pleasure to photograph him and be a part of this story. A big thanks to Guillermo Hernandez for the wonderful edit.
You can read his full piece here: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/shaq-jones-uab-homecoming/.
Though many people are familiar with Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand for the National Anthem, many may not know about Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a rising star in the NBA who did the same thing 20 years earlier. Abdul-Rauf (whose name was Chris Jackson before converting to Islam), missed his prime playing years in the NBA (after being drafted third pick in the 1990 draft). After refusing to stand, citing the flag as a symbol of oppression and racism, he was suspended by the NBA. A compromise was reached, but he quickly faded into the stats book after his playing time dropped and he was let go after one more season. He was 29, and his professional career moved overseas.
On Tuesday, I covered the special election to fill Georgia’s 6th congressional district for The New York Times. It was the most expensive House race in history, with political newcomer Jon Ossoff (who raised more than $21 million) challenging veteran Republican candidate Karen Handel. It was an extremely tight race, with Handel coming out on top in the end. Anyways, here are few of my favorite frames from all the excitement. Above, Will McCall, an Ossoff supporter, reacts as results from the race come in during a watch party.
I absolutely love it when a project I pitch to an editor ends up on the pages of a magazine. Such was the case with this project I recently pitched and shot for Atlanta Magazine. The idea was simple: show up at a local courthouse, photograph couples getting hitched and ask them a few questions. Myself, an assistant, and reporter Camille Pendley (also an Atlanta freelancer) did exactly that on Dec. 14 at the Dekalb County (Ga.) Courthouse. It was so much fun!!!
Rise Up! Here are a few frames from my coverage last Sunday of the NFC Championship, between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. I covered the game for the Falcons, who I’ve worked with for several years on a number of projects.
What made this game special, among many other things, is that it was the last game played in the Georgia Dome. Ever. The Dome, built in 1992, and where countless football games, concerts, and other events have been held, will be demolished this summer. The Falcons will start the 2017 season at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is currently being constructed about 100 feet away from the Dome.
Yesterday’s election was a long and emotionally charged day for many, including myself, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been part of the Election Day coverage team for The New York Times. It started in the wee hours of the morning, capturing the scene at voting polls around Atlanta, and ended documenting the reactions to the news that Donald J. Trump will be the next President of the United States. Above, several women dance to The Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”