This photo was taken on January 5, 2012, at 2:41 p.m. in Monroe, Ga. I was exploring the back roads of Monroe with my cohort Joeff Davis. We were walking through a cemetery. During our search, we came upon two men digging the grave of a 1-year-old who had recently passed away. Even before the dozer had pierced the earth, the boy's loss had been memorialized in a patch of bright white sand, with various action figures and a plastic firetruck next to photos of him. The air was still and silent and the men worked with stone-faced diligence. In this photo, Francisco Hernandez flattens the the dirt of the six-foot-deep hole in preparation for the casket's imminent descent.
Atlanta's known as a hub for music, but it can't hold a candle to other hubs like New Orleans when it comes to street musicians. For the music issue, I wanted to take a picture of a street musician, something that fit in with the theme, but didn't feel like the rest of the photos. I had only one day to do so. I'd been racking my brain for where I might find a performer. I'd seen a girl playing a tuba around Little Five Points a few times, full of quirk, and knew well of the homeless man who padded away on an empty water jug from time to time. I recalled seeing a saxophonist in Decatur's square once and another time met a sousaphonist practicing at a bus stop. None of these memories felt reliable, though. I could explore, of course, meander the city in hopes for something, but I didn't have time to chance it.
There was one musician who I'd seen often, a man who played the trumpet at the lowest dip in North Avenue in front of the Masquerade. Most days, when there's a big show filling in or out of the popular venue, he'll be on the corner playing his tunes, waving at passersby, his case open for tips. One early evening I took my camera and strolled down the hill on North Avenue, down the dip, to his spot, the only spot I'd ever seen him. He wasn't there. I decided to wait and spend some time walking around the park next door. After 30 minutes of retention pond gazing in hopes of repressing the growing anxiety of what I was going to do if he wasn't there, if I didn't get the photo, I headed back to the venue, and there he was, brandishing a silver trumpet. He said his name is Mitch Green.
Business was slow that night. The act at the Masquerade didn't drum up much attendance. As dusk turned to dark, groups of twentysomethings trickled past now and then, some offered nods in lieu of money, some passed without acknowledgment. Mitch played renditions of classics like "Sir Duke" and "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay." Mitch said he plays because he loves to play and has ever since he got his first trumpet as a gift at the age of 7. "I don't care about money, I don't expect it from people. My art would suffer if it was about making money. ... I'm just here to play my sound and stand my ground." He paused, then repeated with satisfaction, "I play my sound and stand my ground. ... I've never said that before. I like it."
This photo was taken at Graffiti Swag Barber Shop, which is tucked away in an unassuming strip mall on Roosevelt Highway in southwest Atlanta. In the photo a man named Kent, who also cuts hair at the shop, receives a trim from one of his coworkers.
The modest shop was recently opened by Killer Mike, an Atlanta-born rapper. Mike, who has always wanted to open a barber shop, stressed to CL the importance of the role barber shops play in young black men's lives. He says they are a place to commune, to learn from your elders, and to escape the negativity or other aspects of a difficult upbringing. As a poor young black man, Mike said, there's no other single thing that can raise one's confidence like a simple haircut.
Mondo Homo hosted a cookout at The Eagle on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. There were drag performances, a dunk tank, and for the first year ever, a wig contest.
This photo was taken at 4:54 p.m. on March 31, 2012, at Baconfest (yes, Kevin Bacon showed up), held at Dad's Garage. This was my first Baconfest experience (it's on its 12th year now). While eating bacon and drinking beer in a parking lot is great, people need something to do while consuming these delights, so the funny folks at Dad's Garage came up with a bunch of atypical, irony-steeped games for drunk carnivores to enjoy. You could have some steamy Victorian phone sex; hunt improvisers; improve your culinary palette at the hobo wine tasting; and you could even challenge a buddy at Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
This photo was taken at the "sanitary kissing booth." The Saran Wrap makes it sanitary, see. This is the only kiss I witnessed. The lady on the left was working the booth, the dude on the right gave up a couple of his fair tickets to kiss her. It was weird seeing two people who absolutely did not know each other engage in such a semi-intimate act. I'm not going to compare it to prostitution, but on a level much, much lower than prostitution, that's what it felt like I was witnessing. After about a three-second kiss (it was longer than your average sanitary kiss because his friend "wanted to take a picture"), their lips parted from the thin plastic, he smiled, she smiled, then he walked away, bacon cup in hand.
Roughly fifteen members of the Georgia chapter of the Syrian American Council rallied at the corner of Centennial Olympic Park Dr. and Marietta St. on Saturday afternoon in protest against Bashir al-Assad the president of Syria. Military conflict continues in Syria between the government and Syrian civilian forces.
Days ago, an American war correspondent Marie Colvin, who had been working for The Sunday Times of London, and a French photographer, Rémi Ochlik, were killed in a shelling in Homs, Syria. Weeks before his death, Rémi was awarded first place in the World Press Photo Awards for his series on the conflict in Libya. The series can be seen here.
UPDATE: This post was edited to include details regarding the group of protesters.
A few more photos after the jump
Today is the last day of business for Outwrite's 10th and Piedmont location. More details over on Culture Surfing.
Former Speaker of the House and Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich won a huge victory last night in the South Carolina primary. Gingrich finished first in the third race of this presidential election season with 40% of the vote, Mitt Romney finished second with 28%. Rick Santorum finished with 17% and Ron Paul got 13%. Roughly 442,000 votes were cast.
Gingrich celebrated with his supporters in the packed Palmetto State Ballroom at the Columbia, South Carolina Hilton. "He is going to save America," said 78-year-old Barbara Marks while waiting for Gingrich to take the stage in a scorching hot ballroom, Marks drove to South Carolina from Nevada to support Gingrich. Songs like "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang and "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen cranked over the loud speakers, before Gingrich emerged for his triumphant speech. While waiting spporters loudly recited the Pledge of Allegiance and then loud chants of "Hey, Hey Goodbye" as Mitt Romney's concession speech appeared on the televisions in the ballroom.
Gingrich entered the packed ballroom to the song "American Ride" and delivered a roughly 20-minute speech with his wife, Callista, by his side. Throughout the speech, Gingrich gestured with both of his arms revealing his left hand to be covered in ink.
"I articulate the deepest felt values of the American people," Gingrich said at the beginning of his speech while screams of "Newt!" interrupted him several times. He said, "The genius of America is that you can come from any background," when running for the presidency before complimenting the other men who are left in the race. "If Barack Obama can get reelected," he said while boos echoed in the ballroom "just think how radical he will be in a second term." Gingrich said if nominated he plans to challenge Obama to "seven three-hour debates" adding that Obama can use a teleprompter if he wants to.
Gingrich said that the "Centerpiece of this campaign is American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky." He called Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery a "dictatorial religious bigot" for issuing a ruling that students could not pray at their graduation. "President Obama has been the most effective food stamp president in American history" he said echoing a phrase he had used in a debate last week which seemed to begin to give him momentum in this state that still flies the Confederate flag in front of the state capitol. Gingrich called for an American energy policy that would bring about energy independence so that "no American president ever again bows to a Saudi King." He attacked Obama's "decision to veto" the Keystone pipeline saying he did it to please his "extremist leftwing friends in San Francisco" adding that Obama "is truly a danger to this country". Gingrich added America must decide if it wants to remain the historic America or whether America will become "a brand new secular European-style bureaucratic socialist system". In comparing his campaign to Mitt Romney's Gingrich said, "we proved in South Carolina," that "people power with the right ideas beats big money."
Next up is the Florida primary January 31. The Georgia Republican primary is March 6.
The 44th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service served as a touching tribute to the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 83rd birthday at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue.
Above, Janice Welch sings "We Worship You for Who You Are" before the start of the service.
See more ongoing photo coverage from the day.
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