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!!!
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.”
My first assignment for the lovely Atlanta Magazine was for their photo column, “One Square Mile,” which publishes on the last page of every issue. I headed to the Georgia/Alabama state line with freelance writer Josh Green to the renowned Robinson & Sons convenience store in Tallapoosa, Ga. Well, it’s renowned if you live in Alabama and like to play the lotto. You see, lotto is not available in Alabama, and Robinson & Sons is on the first exit after crossing into the Peach State.
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.
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.
I shot this feature back in April for the Post, but considering the RNC is underway this week, I believe it’s still as timely as it was then. I photographed two people of color here in Atlanta, one who heads up the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and the other, a Tea Party activist who thinks Trump is alienating people of color.
A pro-white rally of a few dozen folks waving Confederate flags inside a gated parking lot today drew hundreds of anti-protesters who clashed with police most of the day. The rally, called “Rock Stone Mountain,” was held by a group of white supremacists who secured permits from Stone Mountain Park. Many of the anti-protesters were part of a “All Out ATL,” whose goal was to shut down the rally. Though the park didn’t shut down completely, all attractions and events at the park were closed for the day.
Donald Trump made a stop in Atlanta on Sunday, the day after winning the primary in South Carolina. This was my third assignment covering Trump on the campaign trail. His rallies are never disappointing: the people, Mr. Trump’s antics, the atmosphere, it all mixes together for the brightly colored and dizzying show that is American politics. Here are a few of my favorite frames from the rally, which was held at the Georgia World Congress Center this past Sunday.
Last year was unbelievable. It was my fourth year as a full-time independent photographer, and definitely my most exciting and rewarding. I worked for clients that I used to dream of shooting for, and I got to cover some of the biggest stories of the year and meet some incredible people along the way. I am forever grateful to the folks who hire and trust me to tell stories with my camera, whether it be The New York Times covering the Charleston shootings or the Atlanta Falcons to show a behind the scenes of what it’s like to be a professional football player. I also got featured (twice!) by Instagram and blogged by them, helping me gain over 90k followers! It has been a great year for sure, but I definitely have a long way to go.
I have been wanting to photograph Donald Trump rally for a while now. So when I found out that he was coming to Macon, about an hour and a half south of Atlanta, I pitched it to The New York Times. They said they wanted coverage, and I was one happy photographer. Sure, I wanted to photograph Trump himself … but like many things, the real story lies on the periphery. And that’s what I really wanted — the people, the colors, the personalities that come to life for an event like this.