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.”

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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.

MLK March-1

MLK March-2

The beginning of this New Year has been disheartening. Yet marching with my friends from Disability Link in the Martin Luther King Day parade was inspiring and uplifting. The King family led the way as people of all ages, ethnicities, races, religions and abilities came together to march for the civil rights of all.


Tree Lot

There is something magical about a Christmas tree lot at night, all lit up, with the trees lined up in neat rows. This holiday season a tree lot sprung up in Oakhurst Village, just a couple blocks from my home. In the evenings when I would drive past it I would think about returning with my camera. The atmosphere never seemed right until the night the fog rolled in. I dug deep into the back of my closet for my tripod and headed out. The image above was captured when two cars traveling the opposite direction happened to pass through my frame at the same time.

Wishing  you and your family a beautiful holiday season and may the New Year bring you the gifts of peace, hope, and joy.

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:

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