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Portraits

Owen at L'Arche

A few weeks ago I was asked to spend an afternoon taking pictures at the L’Arche Atlanta residence. The organization wanted imagery they could use in their annual report that captured life in community at the house. At L’Arche, people with and without intellectual disabilities live together as a family. It is one of my favorite places to be and to photograph. The joy and love in this home is palpable and blankets me like a soothing balm. On this particular day, in part because I was photographing, volunteers and other administrative staff members dropped by to join the residents for dinner. This made for a festive atmosphere, especially with two young children present. As I was photographing one of the core members setting the table for dinner, a volunteer came out from the kitchen to tell me that she was sure there was a picture to be captured there. As I walked into the kitchen, I saw 2-year-old Owen repeatedly opening and closing the pantry door, giggling with delight at finding Liz, one of the assistants, inside.

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Beate Sass, Decatur High ROTC

I am honored to be a contributing photographer to the exhibition Growing Up Human which opens this Saturday at the Gallery Walk at Terminus, an exhibition space located in the lobby of the 200 Terminus building in Buckhead. Growing Up Human  was curated by Atlanta Photography Gallery intern Nick Ashton.  Focusing on portraiture, Ashton’s inspiration for the show comes from time spent researching the APG image database. “I was drawn to images about the experience of growing up as a boy and then branching out to images of couples and other aspects of childhood and girlhood. The stories in these photos form the basis for the universally shared experiences of childhood and love.” The exhibition is free and open to the public, with plenty of parking available in the Terminus parking deck.

Dad at Computer

During a recent visit with my dad, I captured him playing solitaire on his computer. Although he spends much of his time on the computer reading the news, playing solitaire is something he does to unwind in the evenings.

Aquarium-1

Yesterday, the Atlanta Aquarium opened their doors two hours early to host a sensory friendly event for those living with autism. This coincided with Autism Awareness Month. Many individuals living with autism are particularly sensitive to loud noises, bright lights and large crowds. I expected the Aquarium to be less crowded than usual but it was packed with families and lots of young children, which speaks to the prevalence of the disorder. Despite the crowds, the magic of these underwater scenes captivated even the youngest of those present.

Amina-1

I was introduced to Amina Mohamed over a year ago. She was recommended to me as a possible participate for my “I am Decatur” project. Every time since, when our paths crossed I would ask her if she was ready to be interviewed. Each time she put me off and told me that she did not know why I was interested in listening to her story. A month ago I again met up with Amina at a performance and to my surprise she agreed to be interviewed and photographed. She confessed that she had been nervous about telling her story but that she was ready to conquer her fears. Her story was riveting, painful and inspiring. Amina’s story is one of a  courageous woman who overcame many injustices and tragedies in her life.  Today, Amina is a Decatur neighbor who shines brightly in our community. Below is an excerpt from her story.

“I choose the light everyday. When I go into darkness I just pull myself up to the light. We are here for a reason. I have a purpose in this life but I haven’t found it yet. I’ve been soul searching, still learning and finding myself. I won’t give up. I will get where I need to go. I’m just starting.”

Read more: http://www.iamdecatur.com/amina-mohamed/

Follow “I am Decatur” via FB at https://www.facebook.com/I-Am-Decatur-342771656135829/

 

MardiGras_2018For the last several years I have volunteered to photograph the Oakhurst Mardi Gras Parade in my neighborhood. Proceeds from the festivities benefit the Decatur Education Foundation, a fantastic organization that supports youth and teachers in our community. Today the rain held off  long enough for the parade to wind through Oakhurst Village and reach its destination at the Imperial. The kids above are from Oakhurst Elementary school. Their mascot is the owl.

Steve Barrett

My I am Decatur project now has a dedicated website and Facebook page which is why I haven’t been posting the portraits on this blog. Yet, I felt compelled to post Steve Barrett’s portrait and share his moving story because he has an important message to share. December is often the month when we  become consumed with the demands of the holiday season. This is precisely a time when we should slow down to relish the beauty in each day.

In 1965, when Steve  was 18-years-old, he joined the army and volunteered to go to Vietnam. While Steve’s friends back home were going to drive-in movies and out on dates, he was fighting for his life and those of his buddies. “It taught me, don’t sweat the small stuff because there may not be a tomorrow. I had many buddies die and it taught me at age 19 that your life may not exist a moment from now.” Read more: http://www.iamdecatur.com/steve-barrett/

You can follow I am Decatur on Facebook