Last week I was in New Mexico visiting my father. This was my first trip back since my mother passed away. One of my goals during my stay was to continue to create images for a photo essay I have been working on about my mom. Within a day of my visit, I became inspired to turn the camera on my dad. This is a man who lost his wife three months ago, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer earlier this year and who finished eight weeks of daily radiation treatment last week. Despite these challenges he has continued to play chamber music, take viola lessons, shop and cook for himself and attend his water aerobics classes on a daily basis. His positive attitude and zest for life have never wavered. My father is a remarkable man! Oh, and did I mention, he will be 89 years old next Sunday.
Last I week I visited my dad in New Mexico. As it happened, the State Fair was in full swing. I have fond memories of attending the New Mexico State Fair as a youngster but have not been back for at least 35 years. A friend and I decided to go. The evening was beautiful and excitement permeated the air.
Jazz Night in Oakhurst drew another large crowd last night and Yaqi was one of the attendees. Yaqi is from China and is enrolled at Agnes Scott College as a freshman. Her English was as impeccable as she was dressed. Yaqi is donning an outfit that is representative of the Lolita fashion subculture that originated in Japan in the late 1970s. The Lolita fashions are based on Victorian clothing as well as costumes from the Rococo period.
A few days ago I was rushing to get to an appointment and I drove past this striking-looking man. He was sitting in front of a mechanic’s shop waiting for the bus in Decatur. During the next few seconds I weighed the pros and cons of stopping and within a block’s distance I had made the decision to head back his way. When I approached him I introduced myself and asked if I could create his portrait. He was very willing to oblige. He told me he was from South Carolina and homeless but had come down to Atlanta to find a better life and to preach The Word. When I asked him his name he replied, “You can call me Servant.”
Tyrone caught my eye as he sat in the downtown Decatur Square on the opening day of the Decatur Book Festival. Perhaps it was the preppy look of his V-necked sweater and white polo, the fact that he was sucking on a lollypop, or his leather satchel draped on the table. As I discovered, not only was Tyrone an intriguing person to photograph, his stories were delightful and touching. Although Tyrone has been living in Atlanta for 20 years, he is originally from Baltimore, MD. He taught history to terminally ill children at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He spoke about “his children” with humor and great fondness. Although he loved working with the kids, dealing with the death of youngsters on a regular basis took its toll. He told me that each day as he headed to work he would pray that none of his kids had died. After 12 years of teaching, Tyrone needed to escape and moved to Atlanta. I asked him how he liked living in the South and he responded, “Too much chicken.”