.Portrait Project

.I am an introvert, something I have come to recognize about myself over the last, oh, 10 years or so. I thought maybe I was odd or out of place but I think this is mostly due to society expecting us to be extroverts. Being an introvert does not mean I am a recluse, by any means whatsoever, but it does mean I have difficulty establishing an easy report with persons and thereby subjects quickly, if ever. Lacking a report can and does hamper photography, particularly when in an intimate or one-on-one setting like portraiture. 

So, I began challenging myself to make better, more interesting photos... Portraits. The most challenging of photography styles for me. They are, or should be, an honest exchange between subject and photographer and making pictures that tell the subject's story with just expressions on their face, along with the lines, wrinkles, crinkles, smiles, and eyes.... And so launched a simple project to capture people, both friends and strangers, without sets and props. Just the person. Here is my journey, so far, and more will be added as I continue capturing persons and their small stories. Snippets of their lives. 

I hope you see the person in these photographs, that you feel something, perhaps a sense of kinship or empathy. That is the goal here; to feel something when you look at these, when you actually see the person as they are. 

Take a moment to see each person by clicking on each photograph to open it in a 'lightbox' display. Then read their short description, only the barest glimmer of the person themselves. 


|| .Mali || Freelance photographer and mother of a rambunctious 7-year-old, originally from Dallas, TX but ATL thru and thru. She has a presence and an energy that is instantly gripping and continually memorable, so much so I remember her clearly having not seen her in person in 5 years since our initial meeting. As a freelance photographer she has produced work for many national magazines including, but not limited to, Self; Veranda; GQ; Cottage Living; Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles; Elle; Allure; Neiman Marcus the book; Southern Accents and so many more. I’m a fan of her photography, I’ll admit that readily. Her combination of natural light and strobes is seamless and, dare I say it?, perfect. Her lifestyle work is top-notch, owing to her background in fashion design I’d wager, and her portrait work tells a meaningful story with every photograph. Keep an eye out for her published work and check out a sample of said work on her website. www.maliazima.com #makeportraits #maliazima 

|| .Kristi || We met in a hospital room one evening, at Emory, as I recall. She had been sitting with a mutual friend who had been in the hospital some days and was there when I stopped by after work. She is refreshingly down-to-earth and an engaging conversationalist, this stemming either from her natural proclivity for discussion -or- to her career as a journalist. During our short session she regaled me with tale of hunting down stories, working with sources, and of seeing the new nuclear reactor(s) under construction at the Vogtle Generating Plant (the first new reactors constructed in 30 years). That smile there is ever-present, ready to accompany good tales and appropriately displayed for poorly delivered jokes. Be in the know, know what’s happening with the South’s electric utility industry (growth and lack thereof) by checking out her work at EnergyWire http://www.eenews.net/ew

|| .Shannon || Writer, performer, student of life, managing director of a dance company. She was a Write Club combatant the first time I crossed paths with her. She had written, and was reading aloud, a powerful and compelling piece, a worthy combatant in this literary event. She has a memorable presence, is alert in the moment, has a sharp mind, and a ready smile (not pictured). She engages people with an open and honest demeanor that immediately sets them at ease. She soon turns 40, and while I know this information should be verboten, instead of reluctantly crossing this mark she has embraced it; she celebrates this mile marker with her 40 Days of 40 Countdown. She is celebrating by doing something unique and fun with someone each of the 40 days leading up to her 40th birthday! She is another fine individual I’ve had the good fortune to and pleasure of meeting during my time here in ATL. Should you run into her in the next two weeks wish her a happy early bday!

|| .Jeffrey || {Photo 1 of 2} This is The Man. He was the very first person to sign up as a presenter when I brought PK ATL back from the brink and it has been my pleasure to get to know him in the intervening year(s). He is a doer. He does. He makes things happen. Finding a lack of what he wanted of this city, Jeff started with his first ‘something' here in ATL, The Mobile Social ( @themobilesocial ) a volunteer organization that leads group bicycle rides about town. It started with a small gathering of folk and has since blossomed into a highly anticipated and appreciated monthly event. Wanting to do something further, he founded the The Atlanta Cycling Festival ( @atlcyclingfest ) a week of bicycle events that bring ever more folk into the cycling fold. He is a supporter of all Doers and of this city we call ‘home’, he engages with a level of intensity that continually makes me feel as though I am lazy, this being a good thing that drives me to be more involved in my own everyday. His presence in this city helps drive positive change and creation. He is a character, which I find to be wholly refreshing in an age where I find so many to be reserved. This photo is him but it is only half of the coin that makes up Jeffrey. Stay tuned for the other half of this impressive individual…. 

{Photo 2 of 2} The other half of the coin that is this Jeff is his fun-loving, goofy side. Weird faces, fun times, decent jokes, and epic uses of hats are just a few of the characteristics of this side of him. For all the serious community building he is involved with you would not be amiss in thinking him a stoic individual. However, in spending any small amount of time around him you will find this other side of him to be ever present if not dominant! I cannot wait to see what other hats, both figurative and literal, Jeff dons in the coming years.

|| .Scott || His descriptive word is “enthusiastic”. In everything he does he is enthusiastic: his family, his work, his encouragement of others and their work. He is ‘in it’ at all times that I’ve spent time with him. He is a graphic designer, a trade that seems to be a difficult one in which to make a name for one’s self. But there he is, carving his own way in most impressive fashion. A friend recommended him to me to present at PK last year, this after he presented at Creative South  to much fanfare. His PK presentation was crafted around how he is hustling every day and when meeting him you know this to be a truth. What drew me to him initially was how he loves what he does and how his craft is closely tied to personal relationships with his commissioners/ clients. Some folk just want the money and they want notoriety. Scott, I believe, wants to support his family while making a positive impact in people’s lives through his craft. He is good people! Check out his work at www.thestudiotemporary.com and say hello!

|| .Jason || He is another person I do not know well, yet, just in passing while I was staged at Atlanta Beltline Bicycle (@atlbeltlinebikes) that one day. Through conversation I discovered he is a former pro wedding photog who sold all of his (substantial) Canon gear and switched careers: he’s a Law Man now serving one of the many metro jurisdictions. He’s an outgoing, affable fella who still loves photography, despite having been through the wedding photog wringer (my words, not his). He is a father and way into bicycling (quite evident given his Instagram account!), and participates in/supports the bicycle community. Hopefully, over the next few months, I’ll have the opportunity to get to know this guy better. (P.S.- I selected this photo as I like how it showcases that time a trailered generator jumped up and tried to shake hands with his face in the park. Youch but a good story)

|| .Angel || If you have seen him around town through the last some years, chances are high you saw him speeding past on rollerblades wearing a green dress (not pictured). He is a community builder, having staked his claim to a lesser appreciated portion of town, and has worked to become a major part of his community. His smile is infectious and constant, never an out-of-place character on his face (the moustache being a relatively new addition, one that surprised the neighborhood lads). He is an avid bicyclist though a train conductor for CSX by trade. Angel is another person brought into my bailiwick via PechaKucha. Oh, and, his grandmother taught him how to give great hugs and the importance of giving them. So, do not be surprised should you find yourself wrapped up in one when you meet him. And you should meet him so next time you see someone in a dress on rollerblades say hello!

|| .Wayne || A graduate of Emory University “… when Stone Mountain was a cow pasture…” he is a US Air Force veteran, a former school administrator in / for L.A. County schools, and a very well-travelled soul. His large personality is eclipsed only by his larger heart and hospitality. Often has he offered said hospitality, mixed an appropriately stiff evening beverage, and regaled myself and others with tales of excitement and travel. I am so very glad our paths crossed and that I am able to count him among my friends.

|| .Catherine || We met via a PechaKucha Night, as I have met so many special individuals. What makes Catherine unique, in my mind, is how she fully participates in life. She shows up every day and keeps at it, every day, relentlessly and with an energy that appears, to me, to be nearly boundless. She is a genuine creative who continually seeks creative growth while empowering others via her positive energy. She has an infectious smile, an easy manner, is attentive to whatever you may be saying, and is continually ready to engage. Once, as a personal project, for 365 days straight, she kept up a goal to meet a new person by name. Every. Single. Day. How lucky that we met once and have grown a friendship from something tentative and feeble…

|| .William & Lucy || I met them, briefly, as they were taking their leisure on an afternoon stroll, this before teaching a glassblowing class. I find myself wishing there had been a little more time to get to know this pair a bit better. William is an artist, in every iteration of the word. He creates a variety of arts including painting and sculpture and you can find his work about ATL. He has a calm but powerful presence that he wears with ease and his pup is with him nearly all of the time. Find him on Instagram and follow his artistic adventures! @Divided_Mass

|| .Dan || I’ve known this guy, in one form or another, since… Oh, let’s say 1999 or 2000. For the first ten years I ‘knew’ him via the occasional email only (I’d never met him face to face). He set me up with a website for a podcast I ran with, first, a different Dan, then with a Dorn. Such was our dynamic until I moved to ATL and we met to watch 13 Assassins on a big screen… He is an impressive person and were I to utilize one word to describe him I think it would be “steadfast”… "ˈsted fast | adjective: resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering“. In everything (friendship, work, personal life, sage advice) he is dutifully unwavering and someone you can 100% count on. Naturally, one word cannot describe the breadth and depth of any person, let alone someone as multifaceted as Dan, but it is a good starting point. You might add "introspective", "loyal", "interested", "witty"... All pale approximations of the man, whatever the single word. Maybe the most appropriate here is "friend", in the truest sense of the word.

|| .Deaner || I don't really know much about this guy, just what I've heard from others. I can tell you he is a bike messenger and there are very few of them left in ATL. His main haul is serving papers so should he attempt to hand you something maybe don't take it :D Also, for the record, this is the only shot I have of him where he is not smiling. He seems to be a ball of pedaling sunshine...

|| .Sam || A good friend of mine for some time now and one of the most resilient persons I know. Sam had her first stroke a little over a year ago, one that left her much changed, personally. Ability to speak clearly, balance, cognition... So many parts of her Self altered so quickly. Since the first there have been others and these 'episodes' have changed nearly every aspect of her life... I spent 10 days visiting her in the hospital while they poked and prodded, shrugged, said placating things, figured out how to work the MRI machine (how many photos did they really need of the damage?), and nights of tears when all hope seemed lost and fear was palpable. Sam's future became an unknown almost overnight. Through all of it, however, her resilience has not wavered, her determination has been steadfast, she still laughs often, and she refuses to be put down by this. Oh, and, Sam is descended from the Wapooni Woo. Go, Sam, keep on keeping on.

|| .Self ||  This is me, my Self, odd and weird, continually feeling out of place or just this side of awkward. I do not believe I've ever truly known my Self, not intimately. I think, mayhaps, we were in the same place a few times; having coffee or walking amongst redwood trees, even riding the same train casting furtive glances at one another between stops, maybe... Self has been an elusive thing, a thought experiment to consider, not tangible enough to hold onto with any surety, thus far. Perhaps finding one's Self truly is a life-long game of hide-and-seek, played between memories made and those in the making. Whatever the path, I do hope it's a delightfully wooded one and smelling of fine petrichor!

|| .Tim || 1/2 of Atlanta Beltline Bicycle, Tim tells great stories: face planting while cyclo-cross racing (once to avoid running over a kid), falling over the first few times he 'clipped in', of truing bike tires and how many spokes each actually needs, of crashing into a ravine but trying to save his bike from following him down... He is awesomely animated and someone you should meet. Stop by @atlbeltlinebikes (Instagram) and say howdy while getting your two-wheeled conveyance tuned up!

|| .Ben || I met this guy when PKN ATL participated in the first Atlanta Bicycle Festival last June. Ben is 1/2 of Atlanta Beltline Bicycle who hosted us and he made it, easily, one of the most fun PK's we've had. French accent, kind smile, hates being in front of the camera as much as I do ;) He is a kind and generous man in all things. This is entirely evident as folks come in and out of the bike shop, stopping to say hello as often as to have a bike fixed. Check out the shop sometime or get a two-wheeled tune up if things are a bit off kilter at  @atlbeltlinebikes

|| .Ben || I met this guy when PKN ATL participated in the first Atlanta Bicycle Festival last June. Ben is 1/2 of Atlanta Beltline Bicycle who hosted us and he made it, easily, one of the most fun PK's we've had. French accent, kind smile, hates being in front of the camera as much as I do ;) He is a kind and generous man in all things. This is entirely evident as folks come in and out of the bike shop, stopping to say hello as often as to have a bike fixed. Check out the shop sometime or get a two-wheeled tune up if things are a bit off kilter at @atlbeltlinebikes

|| .Don || He is a kind and generous man but calling him such seems to lessen those words as he is so much more. And, he knows have to cook like no one's business. French onion soup, racks of roasted lamb, kabobs, fresh bread... MMMmmmmm! He enjoys retirement now, scooting around the lake his home rests on on his boat with two pups. His life story is wonderful to hear, his life of adventure. He shares my appreciation for nearly all films and he has a voracious appetite for them. He is a wonderful soul and I am proud to have him as a good friend. 

|| .Jimmy || I recognized a focus and intensity about him instantly, an impression that only firmed as I came to know him a little during our short session together. GA Tech grad, sharp as a tack, with an appreciation for humor, and a laugh that sticks with you and a smile that beams genuine. He has a firm and impressive grasp of Ruby and we bantered about the impending iterations of it and other logic-based languages (a Ruby emulator/renderer that uses a nearly conversational dialect??!! Awesome!). I appreciate those who are active listeners; those who not only listen when someone speaks but actually hears what they say. He heard me as I burbled on about this portrait series, inane as it must sound (why am I not able to be concise?) and he stayed engaged vs developing that glassy-eyed look... Stay tuned for an exciting neighborhood/ location-based art project he is collaborating on!

|| .Chris || Somehow, I see this guy everywhere about town. He was one of the first people to come to Pechakucha when it resurfaced after the 3+ year hiatus; he lives beside the complex my theater is in; I listened as he presented an idea for a grant from the Atlanta Bicycle Festival; I'm fairly certain anyone who owns a bicycle in ATL has met him and/or knows him personally. I can comfortably say that he is one cool dude and today I made a picture of him.