That little town — more a hamlet, really — is called Deepstep, and I’ve marked it for a stop since. On the way home from Augusta (part 1, part 2), I finally had the opportunity.
What a great little spot.
The gallery’s only eighteen photographs, but absolutely a worthy addition to the newly revised Middle Georgia group. Those galleries cover everything from Pine Mountain in the west to Sandersville in the east, Madison in the north to Dublin in the south.
Indeed, I’ve rearranged pretty much all of the Georgia galleries:
As mentioned yesterday, I’ve been meaning to get to downtown Augusta with a camera for years. Actually, that not correct: I’ve been meaning to get to downtown Augusta . . . period. I’d never been there, despite living 130 miles away for almost two decades, despite having been nearby, despite — well, you get the idea.
So it was a pleasure to get to the home of Woodrow Wilson, James Brown, Jessye Norman, and countless others — and see a city a lot like so many others in the American South, a city that’s struggling with identity, history, vacancy, gentrification, and so many other issues prevalent in the 2020s.
One of them is the continued presence of a huge Confederate memorial, a shame in a majority-Black city — and just in front of the Lamar Building, soon to be luxury apartments. What message are Augusta, and its new luxury residents, sending?
Nonetheless, the day’s efforts resulted in some satisfying images, from architecture to neat details:
Augusta is a riverfront city I’m looking forward to returning to. In the meantime, please enjoy a total of 128 photographs in the newly-posted gallery.
Together with Columbus and Macon, Augusta is one of Georgia’s “Fall Line” cities, and is home to more than 200,000 people. Located on the eastern edge of the state on the Savannah River, it was founded by James Oglethorpe in 1736 on the site of a Native American river crossing.
Augusta has long been on the to-photograph list, but it’s just far enough away from Macon to make a quick, unplanned trip difficult — so this past weekend, when another trip was cancelled, I took advantage of the available time and made it happen.
Of course, rather than a quiet Sunday downtown, I ran headlong — no pun intended — into the Augusta Ironman marathon. There were crowded street corners, intersections closed aplenty, and a combination of competitors and supporters everywhere.
Nonetheless, it was a beautiful early-fall day in Georgia, and over the course of several hours, I really enjoyed photography in downtown Augusta — as usual, without people in the shots.
Excepting, of course, The Godfather of Soul:
The photostroll also included the Riverwalk, a stretch both at water level and atop the levee — doing my best to stay out of the runners’ way, moving around to the chants of “water!” and “ice!”
The first 64 photographs — part one of two — have been posted to the new Augusta gallery. Stay tuned for the second part, along with a bonus gallery and some housekeeping news, tomorrow.
The August heat is met with some refreshingly cool items for you this time: beloved movies reimagined as vintage paperbacks, graphic design on the Internet Archive, and winners of the 2023 iPhone photography awards. Plus, a bit on social media that hopefully won’t leave an aftertaste. Let’s dig in.
I don’t always link to these contests — it often seems like the publicity (and rights!) are all about the folks holding the contest rather than the people entering them — but I often look, and am always impressed with the quality coming out of a “simple” iPhone.
And while both of the above are (relatively) recent phones, in the latter case showing the macro capabilities of an iPhone 12 Pro Max, even older phones can highlight the talent of the person using it:
I’m not going to spend much time on this; I eschewed pretty much all forms of social media years ago now, and don’t regret it. That said, I do keep up with social media in the meta sense (a word that’s been stolen, as far as I’m concerned, by — wait for it — a social media company), and have noted the pain and concern associated with the implosion of Twitter.
While this conversation started with Nick Heer and the always-excellent Pixel Envy, it’s obviously evolved as the year has seen one extraordinary cage fight event after another.
For the past decade, It’s been all but required for serious brands to maintain a social media presence […] yet instead of scrambling to claim digital real estate across all these newly emerging platforms, some companies are choosing to be more judicious about which platforms they choose to join. In some cases, they’re learning from brands who jumped the social media ship years ago.
Chris Stokel-Walker, BBC
The quote above, from the BBC, attempts to answer the question, “Why your favourite brand may be taking a social media break.” Short answer: it’s complicated. I’d argue there’s an even shorter answer — it’s smart! — but for people and brands that aren’t yet established, social media is often key to discoverability.
This may be especially true for artists, designers, photographers, and others in the self- and small-business-employed creative field. Indeed, let’s go to a great source for those in the arena, Creative Boom, who recently spent a minute asking, “Creatives are saying social media is over… so what next?”
Like any new craze, it was fun for a while. But there’s certainly nothing new about it any more. Facebook’s now been around for almost two decades. Twitter’s 17 years old. Even Instagram has reached its teens. And while many of us joined these platforms during their fun, “anything goes” eras, when everything was about the users, now it’s all about the algorithms and their use to make venture capitalists vast amounts of money.
Tom May, Creative Boom
While I agree that social media is a mess and has been for a while, I’m absolutely not going to tell you to give it up — only to remind you that I have given it up and continue to be completely okay with the decision.
I do want to ask you, though, to choose wisely:
Enough said. Turn off the computer, go forth, and enjoy a beautiful summer’s day.
Two different photographic opportunities have meant additions to the Automotive gallery recently: some motorcycles in Columbus, and some BMWs at an event in Hampton, a suburb of Atlanta and home to the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
All of these were taken with Leica’s superlative APO 90mm macro (yes, I know, I go on and on about this lens — it’s that good), and almost all are just details — a lens that long in a crowd means leaving the big picture aside in favor of the minutiae. Luckily, that’s a strength of the camera system, and one of my favorite ways to use it.
The Harley logo wasn’t one I was familiar with — and it’s great — but the BMW is fantastic in its retro glory, complete with copper screws.
Meanwhile, speaking of BMWs, they hold their Ultimate Drive Experience yearly in the Atlanta area, and Gerald and I are in regular attendance. It was my first time seeing a number of new models, including the new M2:
Didn’t like this until I saw it there; it’s a shortened M4 but wide and swollen in all the right ways. However, the undisputed star of the show was the new XM. Like many modern BMWs, it’s better in person — exuding presence:
I wish I’d somehow been able to better convey its stance, its proportions, and what I imagine it would look like coming up behind you. Then again, $160k and 664 horsepower will do that. Speaking of horsepower:
Nuthin’ like a carbon fiber engine cover in a three-ton machine. That said, for both Gerald and I the far-and-away favorite wasn’t the XM but rather the iX:
The iX is a little ungainly from some angles, but its battery-powered, carbon fiber goodness is both fast and efficient. Plus, it sports one of the best BMW interiors going right now, and that’s saying something. (Ventilated wool seats for the win, folks.)
These events usually boast parking lots filled with classics, but either the late Sunday afternoon or thunderstorms kept the older items safely garaged. However, there was a sweet and very bright red i8 gracing the scene:
If you’re in or going to be going to Columbus anytime soon, I cannot recommend it highly enough. The food was superlative, the service excellent, and the ambiance simultaneously upscale, casual, and fresh.
The second — and no less tasty — stop was the Ma Rainey Museum of the Blues. This period house downtown is small but demonstrates a remarkable comeback from the (literal) wreckage they started with in the ’90s. I’d originally wanted to return to the Columbus Museum, but it’s being renovated; Gerald’s suggestion here was pitch-perfect.
Inside, Gerald and I enjoyed a lengthy conversation with Xavier, a guide who was knowledgeable and enthusiastic; he absolutely made us want to explore more blues history. (I’m also going to be listening to some Ma Rainey on Tidal.)
Meanwhile, gallery of Columbus photographs is deep and varied, spanning almost fifteen years and 180 items — check it out.
As is typical in July in Georgia, it was hot yesterday — but not so much that I didn’t spend a few minutes wandering around with the camera and superb 90mm. Especially since I was down on MLK, an area of downtown Macon I don’t frequent as much as, say, 2nd St.
Some detail shots (as usual):
Side note: I was completely unaware that Steve Martin and Edie Brickell had teamed up for Bright Star, a musical set in the Appalachians. (I presume, unfortunately, that the 2020 season at Theatre Macon might not have shown.) It probably won’t surprise that I enjoy a musical now and than — and am a big fan of both Martin and Brickell — so was glad to find it on Tidal.
It’s hard to understate how much downtown Macon has changed for the better in the last fifteen years: new residents (and lofts), new restaurants, new shops, a high-end hotel, and more — all without losing its feeling of an historic Southern city.
On the subject of Southern, I’m glad to see the completion of the new Cotton Avenue Plaza, a pocket park that replaces not only an awkward intersection but one that had, at its center, a Confederate celebratory statue. Something everyone can share is a big upgrade:
Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be a gallery post without some of my signature detail photographs:
The downtown gallery (2022–23) is now up to 132 photographs — check ’em out. (Once you’ve followed the link, click on any photograph for a larger, captioned version.) And, if you’re interested in the city’s downtown evolution, see also the 2020–21 and 2008–2018 galleries.
Macon County, Georgia, hosts Montezuma, a railroad crossroads on the Flint River. Officially dating to 1851, it was named after the Aztec leader by soldiers returning from the Mexican-American War.
I’ve been meaning to stop with a camera for a while, but it’s always been a pass-through on the way elsewhere — the route from Macon to Andersonville, Americus, and all points southwest go through Montezuma — but it’s taken until now to actually stop.
Like a substantial part of rural Georgia, Montezuma has fallen on increasingly hard times; the population continues to drop1See Wiki’s article., the empty storefronts multiply, and many of the beautiful old Southern houses need some attention:
There’s an attractive downtown, though, with old brick buildings and a wonderful historic railroad depot:
Did I mention that it’s a railroad crossing? There are two sets downtown:
Despite the population loss and storefronts marked “for rent,” however, all isn’t lost. There are some new businesses opening:
I’ve posted 55 photographs in the new Montezuma gallery — peruse and enjoy. And, as always, thanks for stopping by.
I had the occasion to have lunch downtown yesterday, a day of simply beautiful spring weather — which I absolutely used as an excuse to take the camera for a spin.
The vast majority of the time, I use what I call my standard lens: 35mm. (Some would argue that 50mm is the “standard,” but I really prefer the wider angle of view due to its additional context.) This time, however, I was using Leica’s superb — and, sadly, no longer available — 90mm macro. The detail, the color, everything about this lens excels:
It’s sometimes a challenge to be creative in an area you’ve photographed often, but I enjoy trying to spy new details:
After leaving Zebulon (see below) last Thursday, I continued northeast into the beautiful spring morning. My destination was Senoia, a town of about 5,000 that has a lovely, old-time feel, and is usually busy due to its “touristy” nature. There’s a film studio (!), and major productions like Driving Miss Daisy and The Walking Dead have used it for a location. Plus, given its proximity to Atlanta, it’s a popular day trip for city dwellers looking for a getaway.
Gerald and I were there last April, and while I had a camera with me, I only took a few photographs and didn’t like any of them. But a church window had stuck in my head, we enjoyed the visit, and I determined to return.
This time: success. Starting with that church window:
Elsewhere in the historic district, fantastic Southern porches await:
While amongst the dogwood blossoms, there was even a porch for our feathered friends:
But it’s downtown that folks come to visit:
Plenty of history here, too:
A total of 57 photographs — clearly, it was a good time — have been posted to the Senoia gallery. No matter the weather where you are, wander a picturesque small town on a beautiful spring day.
We’re having an absolutely beautiful March here in Georgia — apologies to places that absolutely aren’t — and I’ve been trying to take advantage by getting out and taking photographs.
The latest photostroll starts in the small town (pop. 1225) of Zebulon1Named for Zebulon Pike, the general and explorer (for whom Colorado’s Pike’s Peak is named, among other things), in Pike County, northwest of Macon, with the typical courthouse square:
The building, from 1895 and on the National Register of Historic Places, is wonderfully detailed, sporting columns aplenty and lots of Colonial Revival details:
The small downtown is well-kept and bustling in a way that small downtowns should be:
Confession: For the last several years, I’ve been avoiding Eatonton. Its four-lane bypass is notorious as a revenue generator for Putnam County, so when heading north to Madison or Athens I have been taking the prettier Monticello route instead.
My mistake. In almost twenty years of living less than fifty miles from this gem — and perhaps because of that bypass — I’d not explored downtown. It’s definitely earned another visit.
I also wasn’t aware that Alice Walker (The Color Purple) and Joel Harris (Uncle Remus) were locals — the latter explaining the prevalence of rabbits hopping about:
I’ve been meaning to take a camera to Sparta for a minute now; its downtown is small yet old and photogenic in a distinctly Southern way.
On that subject: let’s get the elephant in the room out front and center. Sparta is 85% Black, arguably economically and socially suffering, and yet this monument stands front and center. Why?
However, there are signs of hope. More than one building downtown is being refurbished, and there are at least a couple of businesses that are surviving — perhaps even thriving — by providing a sense of community:
By the way, those old buildings often have beautiful cast iron details: