At every Falcons game, you can easily spot the photographers stacked on the sidelines, capturing each play, hit, touchdown, tackle, and dog pile. They’re the ones wearing the brown NFL vests and holding thousands of dollars worth of equipment, hoping to be in the best position possible when the Big Play happens. After all, the action is what game day is all about … without that, there would be no fans, no Georgia Dome. But there’s also a ton of action surrounding the game … the fans, the excitement, the pyrotechnics, the dancing. And while photographing the action is extremely fun and rewarding, I absolutely love shooting all the peripheral elements. To me, it’s what brings color to the game.
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.