In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, I was disturbed by the increased level of intolerance in our country and the heated debates about race, gender, and immigration. In my search to find a way to make a difference, I approached Gail Rothman, Executive Director of the Decatur Education Foundation (DEF) and proposed a plan to highlight and celebrate the diversity in our thriving city, Decatur, Georgia. Gail, her colleagues at DEF, Angie Macon at the Decatur Arts Alliance, and the City of Decatur shared my enthusiasm and supported me in creating 50 stories and portraits of the people who make our community a beautiful and vibrant place to live, as well as a platform for sharing these stories. This was the start of a two-year project entitled, “I am Decatur”. What I have learned from this project is that focusing on what we can do in the community we live can have a far-reaching impact. This is what Gail Rothman does every day. She and her colleagues are literally saving the lives of youth and families in Decatur. I want to honor Gail, a remarkable woman, and the work of the DEF by sharing her story, my 50th and last “I am Decatur” post.
Read Gail’s story here.
I have recently received several emails from concerned folks who noticed I have not posted anything on this blog for quite some time. I appreciate the concern and I have an explanation. Almost three years ago, my husband and I started a nonprofit organization, Better Living Together (http://betterlivingtogether.org), which has kept us incredibly busy. Our mission is to create an affordable inclusive community where people with and without disabilities can live and thrive together. My plan now is to tell the stories of potential residents using a multimedia approach. I recently had the opportunity to take a film class here in Atlanta with respected filmmakers, Hal Jacobs and Joe Boris. Learning about filmmaking is something I have wanted to do for many years and have felt that film would provide me with a more robust platform for telling people’s stories. With the guidance and support of Hal and Joe, I produced my first short film. I am sharing this film with you which highlights a remarkable man and my good friend, Abie Abercrombie. Enjoy and regards!
Our family recently returned from a trip to Utah to visit several of the state and national parks. We flew into Las Vegas, drove through Nevada and Arizona before we arrived in Utah. The shot above was taken in Nevada. This landscape is a stark contrast to the rich reds, oranges, and yellows in SW Utah. More to come.
I am now using a personal Instagram account to post my images. Consequently, I may phase out this blog so if you are using Instagram you can follow me at beatesassphoto.
This afternoon, our family attended the National Puppet Slam at the Center for Puppetry Arts in downtown Atlanta. As we were getting ready to leave after the performance, I noticed the reflection of building’s windows in the two cars next to us. Because of the juxtaposition of the cars, what was of interest to me was the collage of windows that emerged in the reflections.
You are invited to the opening reception of my exhibit, A Good Life, next Friday evening, August 17. This exhibit honors my father who is turning 94 next month. For those of you who have been following this project and know my dad through the images I have created, you will have the opportunity to meet him in person. He is flying out from New Mexico for the opening.
To read a Q&A about my experience as a photographer and this project click here.
Also on view in the gallery is The Past is Present, a group exhibition of five contemporary artists whose work explores memory and past.
On our return flight from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Atlanta, we flew through Salt Lake City. As we were approaching the Salt Lake City airport the scene above came into view through my window. What caught my eye was the yellowish substance that was floating on the surface of the Great Salt Lake that shone like gold. I was also impressed by the massive size of the lake which I learned covers an area of around 1,700 miles. I managed to grab my camera in time to take a couple shots.
In early June, my husband, Tim, and I were fortunate to return to the Grand Teton National Park, a place we first visited over twelve years ago with our kids. It was as beautiful and magical as I had remembered it. We stayed in a small lodge within the park called Jenny Lake Lodge. The resort has been in operation since the 1920s when it was established as a dude ranch called Danny Ranch. Jenny Lodge is situated in a secluded area of the park and is in walking distance to hiking trails and three stunning glacial lakes. Although I took my camera with me on this trip I did not take any pictures until the day we were to leave. Anxious to soak in the beauty of the land one last time, Tim and I woke up early the day of our departure and walked across the road to walk along one of the lakes. It was peaceful, calm, and utterly gorgeous. The image above was one of the few I captured.