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.
Alabama 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.
For a Southern boy like myself, who grew up thinking every man aspired to be Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit, getting an assignment to head down to Tallahassee to photograph TransAms being made ranks pretty high. It was for The Drive, a new online publication from Time Inc. that covers anything with a motor (but mostly fast cars!).
A couple of weeks ago, I had a first in my photography career: covering professional video gaming. I photographed the finals of the first week of ELeague, a partnership between WME | IMG and Turner Broadcasting. It was absolutely electric in there! Fans, many of whom waited hours for a seat in the studio, cheered and hissed at the humongous LED screen as the two teams battled each other in the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In the photo above, Epitacio de Melo, whose gamer name is TACO and plays with Luminosity, is shown on the screen as the crowd cheers.
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.
Back in January, I traveled to Mobile, Ala., for Sports Illustrated to cover the circus that is the Senior Bowl. For most folks involved, it’s not about the game on Saturday, it’s about the week leading up. Players meet with NFL agents, coaches, financial planners, sales people of all sorts, including suit tailors peddling their services. It’s also where scouts and coaches find out as much as they can about players, including using written personality and temperament tests. It can be a dizzying few days for these players. To start if all off, players are measured, weighed, and sized up on stage in front of a few hundred folks, all while wearing only underwear while scouts and coaches fill out spreadsheets. Above, players head to the stage for the weigh-in.
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.