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Thursday, December 14, 2017
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  • Writer Login


    Billy Howard

    Billy Howard
    Billy Howard is a commercial and documentary photographer with an emphasis on education and global health.
    Number of posts: 45
    Email address: email
    Subscribe to my RSS Feed: http://likethedew.com/author/bhoward/feed/

    By Billy Howard:


      Southern Art

      An Exhibit of Favorite Photographs

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Mar 26, 2011
      An Exhibit of Favorite Photographs

      Louie Favorite captures a moment out of chaos in a flicker of a second, distilling human emotion on the street. The faces that randomly pass us by unnoticed are revealed to us, telling a more complete story of complexity in a world where we insulate ourselves from a cacophony of humanity.

      Quiet and attuned to the individual in the masses, his photography is as much instinct as art, composing from the hip, an unnoticed observer bringing dispatches from our least suspecting moments. We walk along the street revealing our inner thoughts to no one, or so we imagined, until confronted with the evidence produced by a photographer of his uncanny skill.

      Southern Views

      Jesus Loves Chicken

      by | 14, Add your Comment | Jan 31, 2011
      Jesus Loves Chicken

      I love a good Chick-fil-A sandwich.

      Five years ago I totally swore off fast food chains after some unpleasant food poisoning incidents. Thank you very much Burger King! Here’s a shout out to you Wendy’s!

      But the one chain that I could not foreswear was Chick-fil-A. Not that I tried. Something about their operation made me trust them, and I travel a lot, so if I didn’t have at least one fast food joint to eat at, well, I would have some hungry travels.

      On Desmond Tutu’s Retirement

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Oct 10, 2010
      On Desmond Tutu’s Retirement

      While Desmond Tutu delivered a lecture at Glenn Memorial Church at Emory University, I was in a small room in the basement setting up lights and a backdrop for the few moments I would spend with him after his talk.

      He greeted me warmly and sat down while he waited for me to take his photograph. He used the opportunity to collect his thoughts and I used that moment to click the shutter.

      There is an aura that surrounds some people, a simple feeling that comes from a place of complete focus and peace.

      Eight Ball

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Sep 17, 2010
      Eight Ball

      There are a few friends I’ve had a regular pool game with for the past twenty years. We play every seventh Wednesday or Thursday unless it’s the third Monday, which sometimes alternates with the second Tuesday. Some people think it’s random.

      We all play with about the same level of skill. None. While calling the seven ball in the corner pocket, if the twelve goes into the side pocket and the seven stays put, we consider it a great shot. Back slaps and high fives.

      We have worked hard not to include anyone who has actual skills as it would force us to reckon with reality and the whole point is to avoid that.

      White Power

      by | 36, Add your Comment | Sep 12, 2010
      White Power

      The KKK had their say in the mountain town of Ellijay. Hispanics are bad, a black President worse. God bless white, their vile words filled with anger and spite. Remove the sheets, a blight on white, and the words sound eerily familiar, just turn on the radio, tv, internet. Listen.  The crowd similarly made from one whole cloth, no stitching required.

      Photo: Covington, 1984. Some things change, some things don’t.

      Spiked Tea

      by | 25, Add your Comment | Sep 5, 2010
      Spiked Tea

      Hiding behind false names, the ideas on these pages are attacked by anonymous voices who choose conflict over dialogue, shouting down convictions with vehemence while offering no transcending ideas.

      While protesting labels of racism unfair, the statistically, purely white Tea Party grumbles that welfare, healthcare and any other attempt in a great nation to provide a safety net, is against our founding principles. Revolution the battle cry, guns in church, the poor to their lot.

      Freezing Time

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Aug 16, 2010
      Freezing Time

      Twenty-six years ago I exhibited my first work of photography in a joint exhibition with Marilyn Suriani.  Our work was woven from the same patchwork cloth of people on the fringes of society. We leaned on each other and protected each other from the emotional entanglements necessary to enter into other people’s lives.

      The resulting exhibit, Living Our Real Lives, featured images of the homeless, exotic dancers, punks and people who, through faith or fate, were considered different. We followed each other into some of the same spaces to find the people that inhabited our images and mirrored each other in our goals as artists.

      Lazarus Redux

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Aug 16, 2010
      Lazarus Redux

      The poetically inclined amongst the Tea Party have suggested a slight updating to Emma Lazarus moving poem affixed to the Statue of Liberty. We here at the Dew are pleased to be the first to bring you this stirring, patriotic tome with notes from the original, outdated verse.

      The New Colossus (what a weird name, let’s beef it up. The Incredible Hulk sounds more American)

      Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

      (are these the same Greeks asking for handouts! You bet it ain’t him. How about we change this to André the Giant.)

      The Deal on Hate

      by | 21, Add your Comment | Aug 11, 2010
      The Deal on Hate

      Nathan Deal has out-hated Karen Handel to become the Republicans’ choice for the next governor of Georgia. Proclaiming to represent conservative values, which of course means profiling Hispanic citizens and demonizing gay people who happen to want committed relationships, Deal questioned Handel’s hate bona fides and won.

      Karen Handel left tell-tale signs she didn’t hate quite enough. Gay people are awful, terrible, sinful, Godless heathens and their desire to love, honor and obey each other threatens to wreck the marriages of heterosexuals who would henceforth look at their own marriages and say, what’s the point of being married if gay people can marry?… Huh?

      Celebrity News

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Aug 1, 2010
      Celebrity News

      I like my celebrities on TMZ

      All vulgar and nasty and ugly to see

      Not dressed up refined in Vanity Fair

      Where everyone has such impeccable hair

      I like my celebrities vile and repulsive

      Like Mel Gibson embracing his lower impulses

      Screaming in tantrums and murderous rages

      Not like his smile on People’s gloss pages

      Body Language

      by | 11, Add your Comment | Jul 28, 2010
      Body Language

      We tell our tales and hold our secrets. Our stories come out on paper, in spoken words, even in the things we choose not to say. And then, with little fanfare, some stories are told in ink on skin, walking with us as we share both secrets and dares indelibly marked onto our bodies.

      Over the past few years more and more people, particularly but not necessarily, young, are finding or creating images to be sewn into their skin with needles and ink.

      Once the province of sailors and gangs, these images now proudly shout out from the arms, backs, torsos and every other body part of rich kids, poor kids, their mothers and fathers and millions more.

      A Haiku a Day

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Jul 27, 2010
      A Haiku a Day

      My friend Andrew has embarked on a noble mission, to write a haiku every day for a year, chronicling the foibles of life in seventeen poignant syllables.

      In this age of overwhelming bloviating, his zen-like approach to the news of the day is a quaint, reflective and usually quite humorous way to absorb the culture crashing down upon us.

      Like putting prose into twitter, the snippets of wisdom, often twisting at the end, encapsulate ideas into neat packages of words.

      Ben Stein’s BFF

      by | 28, Add your Comment | Jul 22, 2010
      Ben Stein’s BFF

      “The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities. I say “generally” because there are exceptions. But in general, as I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or who do not know how to do a day’s work.”  – Ben Stein, The American Spectator

      Guten Tag Ben!

      It’s probably as big a surprise to you as it is to me that I’m writing, but I just had to give you a little shout out, or, as we said in my day, Sieg Heil!

      Pistol Packin’ Preacher

      by | 37, Add your Comment | Jul 9, 2010
      JesusShowingMaryHow2Shoot

      Jesus’ representative in Georgia, the Reverend Jonathan Wilkins of the Baptist Tabernacle of Thomaston, is suing the state to allow his flock to bring guns into church. Currently, in a grave miscarriage of not only justice, but Christian values, guns are not allowed in church.

      Jesus would be excited about this law suit. Had guns been invented 2000 years ago, he would have carried one himself and likely would have been a good shot. He was a carpenter, was used to working with his hands and, least we forget, his father was God.

      Ode to Louie (this is not a cologne!)

      by | 14, Add your Comment | Jul 1, 2010
      Ode to Louie (this is not a cologne!)

      This wasn’t supposed to happen. My friends are turning 60. Of course, I’ve known people who are sixty before. I called them “parents,”  or sometimes they were friends of my parents, or my doctor or a professor or a retired person who trudged around the neighborhood with a cane and sometimes I even liked those people, but they weren’t what I would call friends.

      When I started my career as a photographer there was one person working for the Atlanta papers who I looked up to, (later I discovered he was a little shorter than I was, but I still looked up to him) Louie Favorite …

      Robbers, Bankers, Bandits, Kings

      by | 12, Add your Comment | Feb 8, 2010
      Robbers, Bankers, Bandits, Kings

      (a valentine of sorts)

      Robbers lives are filled with naught

      living on what others bought

      sneaking in your house at night

      and taking everything in sight.


      Bankers make their wealth in loans

      of which you pay them back with moans

      Twenty-Dollar Christmas

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Dec 29, 2009
      Twenty-Dollar Christmas

      Honoring this year’s recession (last year’s rough patch) my wife and I set a limit on gifts for each other: Twenty Dollars. While in years past (when patriotism involved shopping), we became very patriotic, Christmas knew no bounds and packages were piled high.

      This year required a bit less wallet and a bit more creativity.

      My wife has always been good at this — me, not so much. Her skills at a computer keyboard scouring the internet for just the right thing at just the right price are prodigious. My skills with credit cards, also prodigious.

      A Box Full of Christmas

      by | 15, Add your Comment | Dec 10, 2009
      A Box Full of Christmas

      The potential of a box is infinite. Though confined to the square of its walls, the possibility of its inventory is limited only by the imagination. Pandora had one she shouldn’t have opened, but who can blame her? On Christmas morning it is the box, wrapped in festive paper, that holds promise. The excitement comes from opening and discovering the contents. Somehow, the joy of the thing is all tied up into that first moment of revelation. It is that brief time before opening that holds the greatest satisfaction, the box itself offering the gift, the contents a metaphor for the potential felt a moment before. The box, an empty vessel containing nothing but the under cloak of a six sided container can be the gift. Plain or ornate, wood, metal or leather holding within their chambers our treasures, keepsakes or precious letters professing loves both here and gone. The […]

      Nightmare on Emerson

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Sep 5, 2009
      Nightmare on Emerson

      If you have never tried to sell a house, you may as well stop reading right now. It will be impossible for you to accept what I am about to write as anything but fiction…..of the Stephen King variety. However, if you have sold a house, you will begin nodding your head, recognizing the horrors and giving thanks that you have passed through the valley of the shadow of real estate and reached the promised land.

      Last week, we put our house on the market. The path we took to planting a for sale sign was worthy of a budget version of “The Shining.” Instead of Jack Nicholson and an ax, we have a cat. Cat owners realize this is much more frightening.

      The Funny Papers

      by | 37, Add your Comment | Sep 1, 2009
      The Funny Papers

      My career in photography started at the Neighbor Newspapers, suburban weekly newspapers owned by the Marietta Daily Journal (MDJ). I was hired as a writer. The editor never read a word I wrote before hiring me.

      After a year of writing stories about local school board meetings, before which the editor of the competing newspaper (not coincidentally a co-founder of The Dew!) and I would drink a bottle of plum wine, I decided to switch to photography. The requirements were as rigorous as those for a writer.

      Epitaphs for the Living: Words & Images in the Time of AIDS

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Aug 26, 2009
      Epitaphs for the Living: Words & Images in the Time of AIDS

      Danny died. Marquis, who said he wouldn’t, died. Then John, Rod, Rayne and Greg died. I never saw a man face more pain with more grace than Greg. Michael, whom I had grown to love, died. Charles had a passion for life but accepted death. Patrick died and I miss him. Baby T. was born in a hospital that she never left. Most of the people photographed for this story have died. Words are not my gift and I am afraid to use them to describe what these people meant to me and how their lives and deaths have changed me over the past twenty-years. I talked with Archie. He had been extremely ill and told me he was “letting go.” It was a profound conversation. This man, whom I met only briefly, was sharing with me his decision to die. But what I have learned from these people is […]

      One Child

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Jul 24, 2009
      One Child

      There is only one child in the world and the child’s name is All Children. —Carl Sandburg Standing on the side of the road to Jericho a small child with his camel waits for tourists to stop and give him a few coins for a ride. In other parts of the world the camel is gone and a lemonade stand takes its place. In Siaya, Kenya children kick a ball made of trash and tape, playing soccer with World Cup enthusiasm. Little girls dress as princesses in Africa and France and best friends walk down a dusty path in Bangladesh, proud of their pretty dresses. I document the ravages of illness, hunger and poverty, creating the stark images afforded those issues. But there are always children, and in the midst of oppressive forces the children are undaunted. Their spirit lifts them, and in turn me, above the tumult that surrounds us. In […]

      Tower of Babel

      by | 16, Add your Comment | Jul 15, 2009
      Tower of Babel

      I have the uncanny ability to mangle the language of any country I happen to be visiting. This trait is only slightly more pronounced than my ability to mangle English. Late at night on the streets of Paris I was completely lost in a desolate part of the city. A car stopped, a man got out and, hoping to explain my paltry understanding of the language I said: “Je parles Francais,”  accidentally leaving out the all important “n’ and pas.” “You speak French!” He exclaimed in beautiful English, intuiting that indeed I did not. Searching through Mexico City for a folk art shop we read about, we discovered it just as the owner was locking the door. “Are you closé?” I said, pronouncing the “e” as an “A” and somehow thinking that might turn it into Spanish. “Yes, we are closed!” the store owner said, not bothering to hide his […]

      A Man of Grace

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Jul 13, 2009
      A Man of Grace

      If the clock is right, it’s 11:17. Paul Hemphill, chronicler of the unsung trucker and the well sung country star ponders a photographer, Louie Favorite, whose face is partly covered by a Leica. The image he captures resonates of a man at ease, comfortable with and surrounded by his life. The photograph of Jimmy Carter above his desk, an unpretentious bookshelf filled with books of literature and art and a comfortable sofa to ponder it all. Awards hang in the corner, an after thought. A love of the game lines the top of the shelves, a reminder of the start of this writer’s life as a sports writer. Favorite photos, notes and mementos glow in the soft light of a lamp and a drawing of the Bard stands watch, a reminder of the history of his craft. In a sixtieth of a second Louie captured a slice of life and […]

      Obama and Ghana

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jul 11, 2009
      Obama and Ghana

      Of all the countries in Africa, including Kenya, the home of his father and ancestors, President Barack Obama chose Ghana as his one stopping point on the continent and I’m glad he did. I traveled to Ghana on a grant from the NEA and Southern Arts Federation to document former President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to eradicate the scourge of Guinea Worm Disease. Given options of several African countries, I did research and asked everyone I knew with experience traveling to Africa for their opinions. I received a lot of advice, but the statement that came up over and over was that Ghanaians were the friendliest people in all of Africa. I have to concur. In several of the small, remote villages I visited, I was one of the few white people they had ever seen. Walking down dusty streets, people would cross over to greet me, shake my hand and […]

      Hammerin’ Hank

      by | 15, Add your Comment | Jul 8, 2009
      Hammerin' Hank

      Seven hundred and fifty-five times that ball left the park and a serious, sincere man touched his foot to four consecutive bases in diamond shaped fields around America. What are mortals made of? Every element can be catalogued, but there is something extra in this man and it didn’t come from a man-made chemical injected into body tissue. They say your heart is about the size of a fist. Hank Aaron either has a fist like Popeye on spinach or the metaphor fails to take into account a rare enlargement, caused by the effects of compassion, spirit, humility, and pure talent colliding in the heart like a freight train. Starting his career with the farcically named Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro League, Aaron finally stepped up to the plate for the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. He went to work, doing his job for the next twenty-one years, a vivid symbol […]

      Being There

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Jul 7, 2009
      Being There

      As I was hiking into a remote farming village deep in the Bangladesh countryside, a gentle rain started falling. I rounded a curve in the trail and looked into the face of a young girl bathing in the village pond. I don’t consider myself a cutting edge photographer and sometimes the element of my images that makes them work is the effort I took in being there. I have done several assignments for CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty in sixty-six countries. With their national headquarters in downtown Atlanta, they are ambassadors of the south around the world. Traveling to Nicaragua, my wife and I took a day to explore the Hugo Chavez Barrio outside Managua. I have always found the most generous, gracious people in the poorest areas of a country and this was no exception. We looked into the yard of one of the hundreds of corrugated […]

      Mission

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jul 2, 2009
      Mission

      Veterans of wars — some real, others imagined — neglect, abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, bankruptcy, sub-prime mortgages, evictions, despair, bad choices and the accumulation of uncaring families and communities end up on the streets in Atlanta. Perhaps they find peace on cold nights in one of the myriad churches, non-profits and missions serving an ever growing homeless population. This image was taken at the Union Mission twenty-five years ago. The math that brought him there has remained the same and a steady stream of others have replaced him. We don’t know their names and avoid their faces as we hurry past upturned palms seeking a small degree of solace in a handful of spare change.

      BFF

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Jun 28, 2009
      BFF

      Jesse McElveen and Lamar Morse were the original BFF’s. Partners in an Atlanta drug store they bought in the 1920’s, they remained friends until they reached 100. Lamar went first, then Jesse and I am sure they are together again, laughing and telling tales. I met them at Wesley Woods, a retirement center started by the Methodist Church in Atlanta. I have been taking photographs there for over 20 years. They are one of my cherished clients and each time I go I am treated to some of the most amazing people with wonderful stories. When I left them, Jesse and Lamar were sitting together on a couch across from the elevator. They told me they liked to sit there and watch the ladies come down for dinner! Each was closing in on 100 but they were still quite alive! Toni reached an age where she could say whatever she […]

      Miracle Worker

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 23, 2009
      Miracle Worker

      Juliana Otieno’s life is a metaphor for the potential of Africa. Born in a small village, she combined a quick mind, stubborn nature and compassionate heart into the drive to become a doctor.

      When I met her, she worked in the area where she grew up as the only pediatrician in the local hospital, a facility with little equipment and no running water. She is a lifeline to improved care in an area where one of every five children will die before they are five years old.

      If God’s mission for us on earth is to serve, then she has done so under the harshest circumstances. She overcame the obstacles of a society that devalues women to become a pediatrician and she returned to her home to use her skills in improving the lives of the impoverished.

      The Pig

      by | 11, Add your Comment | Jun 17, 2009
      The Pig

      My first job was as a bagboy at the Piggly Wiggly in Raleigh, NC. I was 16 and needed money for my new hobbies: drinking and driving. The job was perfectly suited to my talents, placing a variety of different shaped objects into a paper bag and lugging them out to cars. For this, I was paid $1.25 an hour plus tips, which were generally a quarter. I loved the people working there, with one exception: the produce manager was to this day the worst letch I have ever met. When an attractive woman was checking out, he would pretend to drop a pen so he could bend down and look up her dress. Class act. Even as a sixteen-year old with a budding interest in the subject, I found his hobby repugnant. I witnessed the end of his avocation when the cashier motioned to a young customer to look […]

      The Day Jimmy Carter Almost Killed Me

      by | 8, Add your Comment | Jun 4, 2009
      The Day Jimmy Carter Almost Killed Me

      I traveled to Ghana to document the Carter Presidential Center’s efforts to eradicate guinea worm disease, a hideous parasitic illness afflicting those in the poorest regions of Africa and Asia. I was told before I left that I should not miss visiting the town of Elmina, a beautiful fishing village on the coast with a Dutch slave fort where a previous generation had been kidnapped and shipped like kindling across the ocean. On a day with nothing planned I hired a driver in Accra to take me on the journey to Elmina. I got into his car and he promptly introduced himself as Jimmy Carter. I exclaimed: “No Way!” and told him of my mission for the Carter Center. It seemed like destiny to both of us that we were connected that day. He told me he admired the man so much that people began calling him by that name. […]

      The Best Little Beach House in Florida

      by | 4, Add your Comment | May 17, 2009
      The Best Little Beach House in Florida

      Seven years ago my wife and I celebrated our first anniversary by driving the entire panhandle of Florida. Every beach we came to we stopped, got real-estate brochures and dreamed about buying a beach house. Having our feet planted in sand is a nurturing ritual that keeps us going back to the beach. On our anniversary trip we discovered beautiful houses that were too expensive and then found not so beautiful houses that were too expensive, and finally found a beautiful, ramshackle 1920’s beach house which was again, too expensive, but we loved it and devised a plan. The house, in Beacon Hill, a small beach community east of Panama City was still owned by the family that built it eighty years ago. As a boy, the owner had actually worked on the house — and that was about the last time the house was worked on. They offered to […]

      Fearless Flyer

      by | 4, Add your Comment | May 10, 2009
      Fearless Flyer

      If Mad Max were a woman, Peggy Cozart would be type-cast as the hero. The five-time women’s national champion at vintage moto-cross, a sport where women and men compete together, Peggy doesn’t ride her bike, she flies it.

      Racing moto-cross bikes that are at least 25 years old, Peggy, a mild mannered, sweet natured, compassionate woman off a bike, becomes a no-holds-barred, high-flying, dirt-kicking, fast-riding, fearless competitor…

      Ghost

      by | 6, Add your Comment | May 4, 2009
      Ghost

      Twenty-one years ago I photographed an anonymous person with HIV+ for a book I was working on, Epitaphs for the Living: Words and Images in the Time of AIDS. D. as he referred to himself, wished to remain anonymous, fearing that being identified would cause him to lose his job and his insurance, a loss he could hardly afford. Wishing to be unmasked, he suffered from the fear and ignorance of those who would judge him and chose to cloak his identity in deference to that reality. Over the course of the next two decades, most of the people, over 70 that I photographed for that book, have died. Many died before the book was published and I went to a succession of memorial services in the years after, trying to keep in touch with the people I had grown close to and grieving as, one by one, I lost […]

      My Favorite Photographer

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Apr 30, 2009
      My Favorite Photographer

      FaoAtlanta

      Burning Down the House

      by | 11, Add your Comment | Apr 26, 2009
      Burning Down the House

      Ever since Sherman’s visit, Atlanta has been dusting itself off, cleaning itself up, tearing down the old and replacing it with the shiny new, purging itself of reminders of the past and trying to forget. One bastion of the old south – and by old, I mean unrepentant, real, gritty and raw – has resisted attempts at modernity, stared down the ravages of time, hung proudly to their heritage and survived fires of moral indignation that were hotter than that crazed Yankee arsonist’s cigar. The Clermont Lounge, Atlanta’s oldest continually operating strip club, has withstood the burning fires of moral outrage and become an icon of sin in a city with more than it’s share of like-wise establishments. No small feat when the dancers at the Clermont, unlike other clubs whose impersonal gyrators resemble airbrushed facsimiles, include grandmothers and womanly archetypes more suited to the secretarial pool than the stripper’s […]

      apple-pie

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Apr 19, 2009
      apple-pie

      The face could have been a cheerleader, queen of the prom, a girlfriend, your first crush, your daughter or sister, All-American, apple-pie with a shy smile, a Georgia peach of a girl ready for the next dance but for the incongruity of a cotton sheet symbolizing everything opposite of the look she was giving me as I clicked the shutter.

      A Fairy (Texas) Tale

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Apr 16, 2009
      A Fairy (Texas) Tale

      Fairy isn’t a very Texas name for a town, a state that likes to think of itself as everything big and rough and rugged and fairies certainly aren’t those things. Not that all its’ neighbors seem that tough either, being a short Texas drive from Welcome, where the sign entering town is doubly hospitable and half that distance to Ding Dong. Poetry is a little farther down the road. Battle Fort, – a man destined for war, and the Civil came around to oblige – moved to the little town of Martin’s Gap and promptly renamed it for his baby daughter. Possibly the smallest Texan ever, Fairy Fort is said to have grown to 2’7”, which didn’t stop her from being a big Texan. Born at the end of the war, Civil being a misnomer, she married twice, divorced twice and lived 73 years, after which she could be found under the alliterative headstone: […]

      Junior High Confidential: A Tale of Fisticuffs in Two Parts

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Apr 13, 2009
      Junior High Confidential: A Tale of Fisticuffs in Two Parts

      The Council of Doom My first brush with mortal danger took place in the bathroom of my junior high school. Before certificates of deposit or compact disks there were the CDs: The Council of Doom. The Crips and Bloods may owe some props to the CDs, a group of scholarly challenged junior high school students with an eye for trouble. Their mischief of choice was to surround an unsuspecting victim (for instance: ME) in the bathroom and begin pushing him around. Seventh-grade was a pivotal year where I discovered essential truths about myself: 1.) I did not like getting hit in the face and 2.) I could last an entire day without going to the bathroom. Minding my own business in the boy’s room, I received a shove from a member of the CDs. I shoved back. I then heard rumblings from the other members of the gang, who at […]

      First Date

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Apr 7, 2009
      First Date

        I had my first date when I was fourteen. My date was a woman. Well, not exactly, she was fourteen too, but she had the accoutrements and was taller than me. My mother drove us to the state fair. There would be a concert that night: The Monkees. Excitement and fear mingled and my pocket was full of money. Fourteen is an awkward age and I was an expert at being fourteen. How to show my worthiness? The midway provided an answer: the ring toss. Win a bear, impress a girl. I am amazed to this day that you can lose fifteen bucks that quickly. I came close several times and each time the carney convinced me I could surely win the prize, it may as well have been gold. Each time he would gather the rings and lazily toss one over the bottle then hand them to me, […]

      Carpetbagger

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Mar 30, 2009
      Carpetbagger

      My father was what you might call a carpetbagger. Born in the frozen tundra of upstate New York he was selling ads for a newspaper in Oswego when he caught a train south.   Saying the only things to do in Oswego were drink whisky, freeze to death and figure out how to get out of Oswego, he took his boss’s train ticket to Raleigh, North Carolina when the boss decided not to go.   He worked for the Raleigh Times selling ads and began doing the artwork on the side. When the paper told him that would be part of his job he realized he could make more doing the ads than selling them and quit.   He started the first advertising agency in Raleigh, which is still flourishing as Howard Merrell & Partners.   He was witty with a love of laughter but was known as a man […]

      Walking with Giants

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Mar 29, 2009
      Walking with Giants

      For a moment I walked with giants, or at least posed with one, after watching the tag team duo André the Giant and Abdullah the Butcher humiliate lesser gods in a ring of ropes and canvas. The Cobb Civic Center, offering hope for culture, found dismal attendance for flower shows and art exhibits but filled to capacity Friday nights for wrestling, a primal art form with more resonance in that county. Being the journalist I was and having libated on a six pack, I attempted objectivity but there was none. André stood above all, he was the man, more than man in fact and all hope was lost for the challengers. No Davids in that ring. Hundreds of pounds of flesh and hurt stuffed into a skimpy outfit that would embarrass a Frenchman seemed natural that night and afterwards the unvanquished emerged from his shower and greeted his worshipers. His […]

      Sons of the South

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Mar 28, 2009
      Sons of the South

      Before they died I was lucky to photograph these two southern icons: one who paid homage to the heart of white southern  provincialism, the other to civil rights when doing so meant putting your life on the line. They were an unlikely pair and had never met before I brought them together but they instantly recognized a soul mate  when they saw one and bonded immediately. Lewis Grizzard showed up first and was ready to leave when Hosea Williams finally pulled up in his Cadillac, arriving late  and coming from the wrong direction. I rented an old truck as a prop and they filled the back, although Hosea got the  biggest share. Perfectly dressed for their parts: Lewis sans socks and Hosea in bib overalls, they dropped their swagger for a snapshot  and it was over, both going their separate ways to spout their wisdom in opposite directions.  

      Faulkner’s Typewriter

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Mar 23, 2009
      Faulkner's Typewriter

      It is something of a miracle the once plain pieces of paper that came out of this typewriter. Each letter, each word just one more ordinary piece of the English language, but when combined by the hand of their creator, a new way of writing emerged. The south, in all of its misbegotten glory, its pain, love and sorrow carefully pecked out from the imagination of an author who dove deeper into our understanding of ourselves than anyone but Twain. Benji from The Sound and the Fury spoke in hulicinatory bursts of color, shape and light through the soft hammered letters of this machine and fifteen narrators tell the story of Addie Bundren’s death in As I Lay Dying, the words from each narrator passing from Faulkner’s imagination through his fingers and onto inked ribbon forced against paper, one letter at a time. So this typewriter, an early innovation of […]

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