My childhood is a little bit of a merry-go-round on the east coast of the US. You're about to get my childhood and college story, even though you didn't ask for it, in order for this post to make sense...
I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee (1984) and when I was about nine months old our family moved down to Marietta, Georgia.
I was 3 years old when we moved to Arlington, Virginia (1988) and we finally settled in Stamford, Connecticut (1991) when I was 7 years old.
It turned out that I would eventually attended college where it all started, in Knoxville, Tennessee at the University of Tennessee. I completed a Bachelors of Architecture which was a five year degree, and including the year I decided to stay in Knoxville after graduation, I lived in Tennessee for a total of six years (2002-2008).
I consider Knoxville, TN to be one of my hometowns, and the southeast in general to be an extended home, with friends and family living in Alabama, the Chattanooga area, the Atlanta area, respectively. (also of note, my father was born and raised in Opelika, Alabama.)
In the Fall of 2015, I decided to make a week-long trip out of Thanksgiving. The plan was to travel from Los Angeles down to Atlanta and Chattanooga for a few days and then head up to Connecticut for Thanksgiving Day and the remainder of the weekend.
For the southern portion of that trip, here's what was going on, all the friends I needed to see:
1) It was my college roommate, Michael's, birthday in Chattanooga,
2) My roommate from Knoxville after college, Samantha, also lived in Atlanta, GA,
3) My high school friend, Jessica, and her husband, Trip. had just moved into a new condo in Atlanta,
4) I was very eager to catch up with Ben and Whitney, a set of college friends in Marietta who I had not seen in 7 years. I was a groomsmen in their wedding and had not seen them since their first anniversary when they came up to New York City for a visit. In that time, they had added three children to the mix. It was a long overdue visit.
That's a lot of friends to try to see in two days, but I am thankful to have friends to visit. I am #blessed. (If my old college roommate ever reads this, he'll appreciate that.) I caught a Greyhound bus from Chattanooga down to Atlanta, and before calling an Uber to head to my Sam's house, I realized that I was in a pretty nice spot of Atlanta. I decided to walk around, take out my camera and start shooting whatever caught my eye on the street.
Very early into this walk I would come across Broad St. and I was immediately drawn in by the vibrantly painted houses and building on the street. Without knowing it previously, I was near/walking by the Mammal Gallery in Atlanta, an open "do-it-yourself" artist's space. (Check them out here: Mammal Gallery) That definitely made sense of the all the paint and color I was witnessing.
Ever since my first planned set of photography on the streets of Knoxville, TN, I've gravitated towards photographing statues. My love affair with them has been around for a while. I guess, subconsciously, or quite consciously I thought of them as a good way to prepare for, or practice, photographing people's faces. My enjoyment of photography originally came from an enjoyment of film and cinematography. I was always a fan of mainstream, big budget, blockbuster action movies; if it was directed by Michael Bay, I'd watch it. In his films, along with many others, dramatic close-ups are prevalent. They frame the eyes or the face for such intensity. I always enjoyed that. Early on, being able to photograph someone so closely and intensely wasn't something I felt like I could do, or was comfortable doing....so I went to statues. It made sense; they aren't going to move, they're going to hold their pose, and they aren't going to complain if they don't like the photograph you took of them.
This day in Atlanta I would make my way to Georgia State Capitol, known for its iconic golden dome and I would add few more faces to the collection. The first was the Civil War Confederal General, two-time Senator and 53rd Governor of Georgia, John Brown Gordon. He sits in a prominent spot in front of the Capitol, resting on his steed:
Not too far away was the bronze likeness of our 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. I like the pose with the open welcoming hands and the sleeves rolled up to signify is willingness to work:
A quick walk-by of the Georgia Governor, Richard Russell Jr. statue:
And a few images of the Joseph Emerson Brown and wife, Elizabeth Grisham statue:
To conclude, a few more images of the Capitol building. It's an impressive dome/structure: