Monthly Archives: May 2016

Ray at NewstandRaymond Tatum’s newsstand sits at the corner of Decatur and Peachtree streets in downtown Atlanta. Initially, it was the colorful apparel blowing in the breeze that caught my attention but it was one of Ray’s stories about his mother that inspired me to create this portrait and post. As Ray reflected on his childhood he spoke about his mother, Lena Jones Tatum, with great admiration. Lena was a strong and determined woman. She separated from her husband and in 1954 she moved from Florida to Atlanta with her six young children in search of a better life. She worked hard as a housekeeper and after a year and a half she was able to purchase a house in Southeast Atlanta for $5,000. Ray recalls that their home was always immaculate despite the fact that the property flooded every time it rained. Ray’s mother would say,”It’s not where you live but how you live,” a motto that Ray continues to live by. All six children graduated from high school and when Ray, the youngest, finished, Lena returned to school and earned her high school diploma. An emotional Ray said, “She gave me everything I needed, I just didn’t see it at the time.” After high school, Ray made a hasty decision to join the army. Although his mother showed up at the induction center with the offer to assist him with furthering his education if he stayed home, he declined her offer. Ray served in South Vietnam for only four months before he stepped on a land mine and lost his left foot. He was discharged in 1969 with a purple heart. In gratitude for his mother, Ray hopes to create a family business in her honor.

Ray, on this Memorial weekend, we honor you for your service.

Ray was inspired to create a company called Gittin’ Off Zero. He sells his apparel at his newsstand and online at



Roofing job

I came upon this scene early morning as I was walking my daughter’s canine companion, Nathan. I nervously watched as a group of roofers climbed a long ladder while carrying equipment, walked up a steeply pitched roof, all without hesitation.

Lantern Parade 2016-1

Photographing at the annual Decatur Lantern Parade is always magical. Residents of all ages come with their handmade lanterns to participate in the nighttime parade and hundreds of others line our streets to watch the illuminated procession. The variety of lanterns is stunning, from simple shaped globes to some shaped liked rockets, fish, and oversized puppets. The children in the image above participate in the STAR After School Program which is one of the many programs available to the residents of the Decatur Housing Authority. This group of youngsters has become familiar to me. They are enthusiastic participants in most of our community events and can be recognized by the maroon shirts they wear, not to mention their beautiful smiles.

I am please to announce that my portfolio, The Dugout, is featured in the LensWork No. 124, June 2016 edition. These collection of images were taken during the 2015 baseball season and features the Decatur High School baseball team. LensWork is sold at Barnes and Noble and can also be ordered through their website at I have been a subscriber to LensWork since I started photographing ten years ago and the portfolios, articles, and interviews that are featured have always been a source of inspiration for me. The editors, Brooks Jenson and Maureen Gallagher print an absolutely beautiful publication bimonthly in addition to publishing a computer version with extended portfolios. Many thanks to the LensWork team for publishing The Dugout. I am honored.

Ivy and foot

I was walking in the Inman Park neighborhood in East Atlanta when I saw the distal end of someone’s leg protruding beyond a retaining wall. The angle at which it lay was awkward and the first thought that came to mind was whether the person who belonged to the leg was alive or dead. I snapped this picture before I gingerly peered around the corner to satisfy my curiosity.

Kebra and LaNeeks

I was recently meandering through the Little Five Points district in East Atlanta when I came upon 6-year-old Kebra sitting in front of her mother and fathers’s store, Earthtone. In the soft light of late afternoon she radiated the kind of beauty that leaves one breathless. I remember feeling this same way when I initially met her 3 years ago. At that time, I had photographed her against this same wall outside the shop, first by herself and then with her mother, LaNeeks (see post from March 18, 2012 and May 13, 2012). We had fun revisiting these old posts of her and her mother on my cell phone and getting reacquainted.  I then asked Kebra and LaNeeks whether I could create a portrait of them together. The love and strong bond that mother and daughter share was a privilege to capture.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mothers I know, have known and have yet to meet.