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.
I traveled down to Moultrie and Thomasville, Ga., a few weeks back to help illustrate an investigative story for BuzzFeed News about the H-2 guest worker program. My assignment was to photograph a few people who had agricultural jobs and were fired for cheaper, immigrant labor. Agriculture is a huge economic engine for this part of the state, and BuzzFeed claims that the government and businesses here, and elsewhere around the country, have purposefully sought immigrants over Americans in order to save money.
I made the short drive over to Talladega this weekend to cover the races. You can’t always count on the racing to be entertaining, like this weekend, but people and sights always deliver. Here is a selection of my favorite images from Saturday and Sunday.
A 93-year-old woman fought the City of Atlanta and won. Mattie Jackson, pictured above in her home, refused to sell her house to the City after it deemed that the block she lived on in the Peoplestown neighborhood of Atlanta was unsafe. City officials contend that part of the neighborhood, which sits in a low-lying area near Turner Field, is susceptible to flooding of sewage.
A few months ago, I had one cool assignment, courtesy of Sports Illustrated. I got to hand out with the famous/infamous Don King for a fight he was promoting. The fight, between Eric Molina and Deontay Wilder, was held at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The story was part of SI’s annual “Where Are They Now?” issue. I’ve assisted SI photographers on stories for this issue in years past, so it was a real honor to be shooting this assignment.
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to document a day in the life of a man making a huge difference in his community. The assignment, for NPR, was on Omar Shekhey, an immigrant from Somali, who moved to Atlanta in the early 1980s to pursue an engineering degree at Georgia Tech. But Shekhey abandoned that dream and now devotes his entire life to helping Somali refugees in Clarkston, a suburb of Atlanta. Most of his day is spent at the Somali American Community Center, which he founded to help refugees with a variety of tasks, such as navigating governmental bureaucracies or how to find jobs. In the afternoon, he runs an after school program at a nearby church that helps Somali children with schoolwork and gives them a sense of community. He finishes the day driving a taxi, the same taxi he often uses to pick up children for the after school program. He hasn’t had a day off in years.
If you’ve never been to an NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) drag race, I definitely encourage you put on the list. Even if racing isn’t your fancy, the experience is unforgettable. First, the cars are the LOUDEST THING ON EARTH. Okay, maybe not, but pretty damn close. These 10,000 horsepower cars, shaking and rattling like they may fly apart at any minute (and sometimes do), shake your innards when they go by. I can’t even really explain the bone jarring power of these machines. Well, they go over 300 mph in a 1/4 mile, so that might help illustrate it.
Every time I pass through an airport, I find myself wanting to stop and take photos. The people, emotion, light, colors, it all comes together at airports like nowhere else. But it’s always so difficult to find time to take photos in an airport … there’s always the next plane or taxi to catch, or I’m just too focused on making it to my hotel and crashing that taking photographs is the last thing on my mind. But last week, I got a call from The New York Times to do what I’ve always wanted to — wonder around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with a couple cameras and take photos of pretty things. So here’s what I saw there last Friday. (Caption for above photo: a plane is seen taking off from atop the hourly parking lot at Terminal South)
Back in August, I had the chance to photograph inside the CDC in Atlanta. The assignment, for Newsweek Europe, was to help illustrate a story about the efforts to completely eradicate polio. I was to take a portrait of Dr. Greg Armstrong (above), CDC incident manager, and photograph the Polio and Picornavirus Laboratory and the Emergency Operations Center. The whole thing was a bit stressful. It’s not everyday that I get to work in one of the most secure places on Earth, not to mention that I was only going to have a few minutes with Dr. Armstrong.
Back in July, I shot one of the coolest, weirdest, most fascinating stories I’ve worked on to date. It was for the French quarterly magazine We Demain, and it covered the DIY brain stimulation movement. This type of brain stimulation sends very small electric currents through the brain for extended amounts of time (15-25 minutes) and is believed to treat a whole host of ailments, including chronic pain, depression, fibromyalgia, and poor cognitive function. It also can improve memory, advocates say. Yes, this is a real thing.