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Monthly Archives: April 2012

This past week I received sad news from my friend Juanita Whiddon, who is the archivist at Tall Timbers Research Station (formally Tall Timbers Plantation) in Tallahassee, Florida. Rosa, who is one of the individuals I photographed for the Tall Timbers Plantation Project  has been in poor health since I photographed her one year ago. Juanita visited Rosa last week and reported that Rosa’s health had significantly declined. When I received the news, this image of Rosa, proudly holding a photograph of herself at the age of 27, came to mind. Rosa and I created this photograph after we had completed our formal photographic session at her house.  Two of her grown children and Juanita were there and as we were talking and joking around on the porch, Rosa asked her son, Calvin, to retrieve a photo. When Rosa showed us this photograph she was beaming and remembering her younger years. Although I did not include this photograph in the project, this remains one of my favorites.

Friday I leave for Deltona, Florida to view the exhibition of the Tall Timbers Plantation Project, which is being shown at the Southeast Museum of Photography’s Lyonia Gallery. I am honored to have been given this amazing opportunity to share this special project with the public. This project has been dedicated to all the former residents from Tall Timbers Plantation and Juanita Whiddon who generously shared their stories and collaborated in creating the portraits. To learn more about the exhibition go to http://www.smponline.org/lyonia_sass.html

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I am fascinated with barber shops and have photographed several over the years. Paul’s Barbershop in Clayton, Georgia has to be the most interesting I have ever visited. Every inch of the shop is filled with relics from the southwest and other places Paul has traveled. Because I grew up in New Mexico, I was immediately drawn to the kachina dolls, pottery shards and arrow heads which are displayed museum style in glass cases and on shelves. As one customer fondly remarked to me, “I don’t come here to see Paul, I come here to see all his stuff.”

Paul was born in Pontiac, Michigan but moved to Phoenix, Arizona with his family in 1970. He received his barber’s certificate when he rejoined the army in 1987 and finally settled in Clayton, GA in the mid 90s. He opened the shop at its current location in 1998. Paul is also a passionate musician. He plays the guitar, composes and has recorded his music. A sign in his shop tells his customers that his CDs are free to those who are willing to listen.