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!!!
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.
Driving my favorite part of Ga. Highway 83, it’s easy to lose track of time. With only an occasional house or rusted fence to break up the miles of pine trees, irrigated cornfields and rolling pastures dotted with anthills, driving easily takes a back seat to my thoughts.
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.
Watching a building that has housed the history of a people come down is never easy. Yes, Friendship Baptist was compensated well ($19 million) for its land, but it’s still painful to watch the walls, foundation, and history crumble into the Georgia clay. Perhaps that’s why there were only a couple church members present for the demolition of Friendship. The land the church has sat on since 1871 was purchased by the City of Atlanta last year so that a new stadium could be constructed for the Atlanta Falcons (as well as a new Major League Soccer team). Folks at Friendship had been preparing for months for the demolition, painstakingly and lovingly removing, packing, and storing for the next chapter. Above, The Rev. Charles Washington, associate minister for church administration for Friendship, watches the demolition.
It’s always wonderful when an editor gives you the green light to photograph a project you’ve pitched; When they take a chance on your vision and trust that you will tell the complete story (or at least they hope you will). Such was the case recently when I photographed the last days of Friendship Baptist Church at its historic location at the corner of Atlanta’s Mitchell Street and Northside Drive. Above: Sula Burr, a Friendship Baptist visitor, arrived a couple hours early to ensure she had a seat for the final service on May 25, 2014.
***This is the first installment of Vocation, a project exploring the relationship between people and their professions. Specifically, those people whose job is so closely intertwined with their identity that it seems to be a part of their DNA. Those people who seem as though they were born to do that particular job. It comes so natural, it would be hard to even conceive of them doing anything else. This is Evans’ story.