Sandy Bell is a Chattanooga icon. He can be found in every downtown bar on a Friday or Saturday night peddling flowers. I found him washing windows on Broad Street, balancing towels on his one-of-a-kind gold bike. This is his day job, though I'm not sure he asks before he starts washing them. With his straw cowboy hat, safety glasses, pink towel and extension cord coiled around the handlebars, it's hard not to find him charming.
What a great day for baseball. The rains gave way to dramatic clouds, which cleared in time to let the screaming light through for the end of the game. The home team was down by 3 in the 6th, and this play, just above, at the bottom of the 7th, tied the game.
The last two days I have had a lot of success following an inner sense of where I was supposed to be driving. Yesterday, it was a fire. Today, I got off the interstate via an exit I never take and found this at the bottom of the ramp.
It had just happened, and the three UTC football players, who had been on their way to practice, were just starting to climb out of the vehicle. It took me a minute to make sure everyone was alright and that EMS had been called. There was still one person trying to get out of the car when I started shooting.
This has to be the smallest fire to ever require five Chattanooga engines. Only the wooden window frame burned. And this may be the smallest hose ever used to fight a fire. I felt a little bad after posting it on our wesite this afternoon. Hope I didn't injure anyone's pride.
A park full of children and the Yard of the Month up on the ridge. Not too shabby for a Tuesday. This 86-year-old woman still gardens, mows her own lawn and, get this, she climbs up on the roof and cleans her own gutters. Her friends and family love that last one. She has a green thumb you wouldn't believe. Last year a pine tree fell onto two dogwoods. She put the trees back together with duct tape. They both bloomed this spring. Talk about a magic touch.
The Senior Neighbors Orchestra prepares for their upcoming concert. The program includes a very ambitious overture from Phantom of the Opera and the Forrest Gump Suite. There are seven clarinets and the two dearest alto saxophone players Chattanooga has to offer.
A visiting children's string band played an outdoor concert in front of the aquarium on Sunday. They seemed to be having a good time, the crowd would dance every time a waltz filled the air. But you sure couldn't miss the yawns between numbers. What else could one want from Spring Break than late nights, new places, good music and sunshine?
We've survived the Ides of March and have made it to the solstice. Spring miracles are in the air. I haven't killed my rasberry bush yet and I found a farm staffed by volunteers in the middle of Chattanooga. I have big plans for future sunburns while uncovering strawberries with these folks.
This man spent 13 months at a reform school in Florida in the early 1960s. The state recently opened an investigation into the facility after finding 30 unmarked graves of boys who were beaten to death there during that era. He's suffered a lot in the years since. With 18 prescription pill bottles in sight from my post on the couch, a thin layer of cigarette dust covering the furniture and clothes that haven't seen soap in months, it was a hard situation to photograph kindly.
His mind is full of conspiracy theories, including one that involves the police force in North Georgia actually being secret agents from Florida out to get him. His story about coming to Georgia starts with being accused of murdering five children, a charge he didn't deny in our conversation, and ends when he cut a deal with the judge - he paid $300 in fines and moved here.
He also spoke of his marriage dissolving sometime after he started beating his wife. He just wasn't willing to be with someone who would push him to that point.
It was a difficult conversation to sit through. I felt constantly torn between pity and caution. Someone so wounded and now so troubled is hard to anticipate. Perhaps I am just feeling as an American. We are angry with the system that caused so much pain, but we want so much to hear that there has been healing and hope in the time since.
This was a story about watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow that was filmed in Chattanooga - in July. There were no antiques and little emotion present, but very bright windows backlighting from all angles. I finally found a way to make it work for me instead of fighting it.
Somehow photographing small children never gets old. They wear every emotion on their sleeves and do fun things like eat boogers. They seem more expressive at two years old than those of us who have spent years learning to mask our thoughts and feelings.
Basketball season is upon us. Southern Conference tournament, high school state tournaments in Tennessee and Georgia, followed by the NCAA tournament. These are a few that won't run in the paper. Hoping to get better game by game in the next few weeks. I may also go deaf from the roaring crowds and the roaring coaches.