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.

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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.

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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in chronological order, and include sports, political assignments and personal stories, as well as a few previously unpublished images from my personal and commercial work.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.

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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. Continue reading

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! Continue reading

6th District Election for The New York Times

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. Continue reading

Election Day Coverage for The New York Times

161106_nyt_elections_1558Yesterday’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.” Continue reading

Minorities Purged from Voter Rolls for The New York Times

It sounded like something from the 1960: About 180 minorities were purged from the voter rolls just before a major election where a white candidate won by a narrow margin (African-Americans make up about 85% of the population). But it wasn’t, it’s a situation that many in Sparta, Ga., have dealt with recently. The Times sent me there to take portraits of some of the main players in the story, and to document a bit of what life is like there. Continue reading

Police Ride-Along for The New York Times

The Times called me last week and asked if I’d be interested in doing a ride-along with law enforcement. I didn’t have to think about it … of course I would. Crime was one of my beats when I started out as a reporter for The Moultrie (Ga.) Observer in 2001, and it has remained something I love to cover. But this assignment was different than previous law enforcement stories. For one, I was one of several journalists dispatched by the Times across the country to do ride-alongs on the same day. We were covering one shift of law-enforcement, from as many officers’ perspectives as possible. Continue reading

Colleges Pursue Out-of-State Students for The New York Times

Shot for The New York TimesAlabama is like a second home to me … I’ve traveled there quite a bit in the past couple of years, mostly for The New York Times. This last time was back in April when I went to the University of Alabama and to nearby Central High School, where I attended a seniors awards ceremony. The story was about how large universities, such as UA and the University of California, are pursuing out-of-state students (critics argue) and leaving many in-state students behind. Above, a man walks in front of the Gorgas Library stairs at UA. Continue reading