Many hours in this building trying to make photo after photo to fill the space led to a couple sucesses. The woman above was painting during a contemporary worship service on Sunday morning. The man below sits behind a bar in the same room the Friday before. This church in downtown Chattanooga hosts a youth outreach mission on the weekends, letting local bands perform and creating a safe space for the under-18 crowd (they only serve water and sodas). But two shootings only a month apart took place in the parking lots behind the building. The mayor is preparing to shut down the church, so we spent a lot of time there over the course of a week to see what was really happening within its walls.
The state of Tennessee passed a law earlier this year making it legal to carry firearms into state and local parks. The only way around it was if local cities decided to opt-out of the law. East Ridge, which is adjacent to Chattanooga just north of the Georgia line, debated the gun law and decided to allow weapons in their parks, one of which also houses a huge regional convention center. The most interesting testimony I heard was that of individuals who had used their guns in those parks to protect their wives and their sons on several occasions. No one seemed to notice that these concerned citizens were admitting to illegally carrying their weapons into the parks. I guess we don't really need the new law - everyone's breaking the old law anyway.
Let the football begin! I love being close in practices and running out of the line of fire at the last second. I don't have quite so much luck once I'm restricted to the sidelines. I've shot some high school practices, but the football camp with the 7-year-olds was a lot more fun.
We spent hours at this local church-turned-weekend-hangout waiting for the corwds to arrive, which never happened. But the church members were waitng, too - one with his giant 4-month-old dog. He had trained the pup from a very young age to tolerate being cradled. Strange. I think the dog held the same opinion.
One of the local urban, organic farms has spent the last few years building up community gardens in the arera. This woman was part of a church group that has been expanding their garden since they planted the first seeds in the spring. Blueberries are going in this fall. The best thing about it? The group says it has brought together people who thought they had nothing in common until they were pulling weeds side-by-side.
These homeschool families spend summer evenings learning together each year. This summer's focus was astronomy, and what better way to get those theories to stick than taking the universe into your own hands? The made comets out of dry ice, baking powder, water and some "organic material" that seemed to resemble corn syrup. The best reaction came when the hair dryer created a solar flare off the comet.
I love this woman's hand reaching in to touch the pollen left on the little girl's nose. Somehow you just know it's a grandmother. The poor woman at the bottom looked slightly panicked as I ran after her. "It's just such a stressful time of day," she said. She explained that she knew her four sons needed lots of exercise and liberty, but it was incredibly hard to keep up with them. Harder still to trust drivers along the road.
Paula Deen in person is wilder than expected. She makes astonished faces at the crowd and banters with her husband. Her rags to food fame story is heart-warming, and one can see how her Southern charm could win her into so many kitchens. Photos sent to the newspaper for advertisements make her look scary, but she was much less so in person. I think a photographer once told her she had squinty eyes or blinked too much. As a result she is nearly bug-eyed in the portraits.
I have been eyeing this car wash for ages, but for a totally different reason. They have all of these miniature cars lined up above the bays, asking to be involved in a photograph. Who knew the inside would be even more enticing? There's a mural on the other side of the wall that's on my list of future victims.
This was pretty fun. I've never been in a Tyvek suit before or worn a respirator on an assignment. They were weatherizing this house. Spraying insulation in the attic was next on the list when I walked in. It was interesting trying to shoot pictures with the camera's viewfinder 4 inches from my eye on the other side of my protective covering.
Two recent shootings, deemed appropriate action, in the region involving police in the last two weeks lead to questions about just what sorts of physical and mental training police go through before ever entering into a loaded situation. I got to the police firing range with 40 minutes left to shoot and had to make three pictures for the paper and shoot a video. No pressure. It went alright, but this was about the only thing I really liked out of the mix. It's difficult to get faces at this sort of thing, since you really don't want to be standing in front of the firing squad.
This summer performing arts camp was a lot of fun to photograph. I wish I had been able to stay more than an hour-and-a-half. The boys were not so full of emotion as the ladies of the group. The best was in the art class where they made their own theater masks. The moment their faces slid behind the slick plastic, the room filled with monkeys, ninjas, queens and the like.
These two brothers had a breakdown while passing through downtown Ringgold, Ga., on Thursday afternoon. It was a little frightening to watch them fiddling with frayed wires inside the engine and tightening parts of the battery connection with a metal wrench. It turned out well, however. On this attempt, the car started, and the two headed back to Chickamauga in search of a more permanent fix.
After a much-needed break, it was back to work today. I spent a lot of time trying to find that final, evasive source on a project. But I did get out for a little bit and found this incredibly blond family out playing in the sun. There were five other children there from the neighborhood as well. It's been a long time since I've had to distill an image through that much chaos. But it turned out okay in the end.