I am now 36 years alive and not quite two weeks a father.  I have traveled the globe, lived on the east coast, spent some time in the south west and recently (6 years now) settled back down in Stillmore, GA (population 776).  Stillmore is a familiar landscape, the farm on the outskirts of town has been in the family since my great-great grandfather and I have spent many a summer wandering those woods. Now, I find myself on a small plot of land in town….flowers in the yard, a dozen or so pecan trees out back and a small garden to keep us in fresh produce.  Visions of the  landscape are a haze with breaks of clarity but more often than not it is pulling weeds while talking on the phone, watering plants while worrying about deadlines and snipping roses for the house while contemplating creative endeavors that have yet to leave the sketchbook.  Recently (just a day or so back from the hospital), while cutting cucumbers, a moment of clarity occurred.  The smell of that fresh cut cucumber wafted up to my nostrils and brought back a string of vivid memories.  Dark soil, green leaves, yellow flowers, hairy plants, cool fruit and my grandfathers hands.  After settling back into the moment I carried the fresh cut cucumber  over to my son and placed it beneath his nose.  That moment became the first time he would ever smell a cucumber.

Now let’s break away two weeks earlier.  I had taken my photo class outside for a quick lesson on making strong images of small things.  A broken dandelion caught my eye and the work began.  Towards the end of the shoot I knelt down and made a few images myself.  The files remained tucked away on my memory card waiting for another day.  The day came not too long after the shoot and as I edited the dandelion image I become enamored with it. The image conveys an energy exuded by a plant with a head of launch ready seeds ready to be catapulted into the wind and carried off to some lost horizon.

Back to the cucumber.  The next morning I carried my son outside and gave him a tour of the yard.  Cats, a dog and flowers…flowers soaked in dew, flowers I had grown from seed, flowers that burst forth with colors, texture and strange alien shapes.  And I tried for a minute to imagine…to imagine how these brilliant colorful forms could be perceived with no context as to what they are.  Engaging forms, colors that titillate the senses and smells that intoxicate the air.  The world was awakening before us…two lives, with two very different perspectives on the events currently unfolding.  For me the world was small, for my son, the backyard must seem somewhat infinite.  As we stood before a coral rose the image of the dandelion flashed before my eyes and the convergence of these two experiences began to meld into one.

From this, the Spring portfolio was born. This portfolio will be the first of four; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.  Four seasons, one year and a small plot of land in Stillmore, GA.  This scrutiny of metamorphosis as my son may perceive it.  The end result is consummated through a manipulation of process while shooting and again when editing.  Spring is the first of the four seasons to be witnessed by my offspring and documented as I imagine he experiences it.  Each print will be editioned in sets of five, printed with archival pigments on Arches Velin Rag paper.   The first body of work is currently on display at Kobo Gallery in Savannah, GA.



  1. Linda

    Love your words, and your images.

  2. desmal

    Thank you so much for the kind response.

  3. Gina

    Love the post, Des! Reminded me of our summers spent in the country growing up. Seems like an eternity ago. So proud of your work.

  4. Selena

    Beautiful…thanks so much for sharing

  5. Patti

    beautiful photos
    beautiful words
    beautiful heart

  6. Diamond

    It is through the eyes of a child and the heart of a father. It is amazing how I read your words and vicariously cry at the same time. I look forward to this seasons work and seeing both you and Your son grow. Love you bub.

  7. Emily

    Beautiful……tears of sweet emotion run down my face.

  8. Chanel Bennett

    I’m now crying after reading your beautiful story. What an amazing father you are and will continue to be. I love how you stop and enjoy the moments in life that most of us just pass by in the craziness of kids, jobs, carpool, sports, and just keeping up. I’m going to spend more time enjoying the little things thanks to you! Love ya cuz!!

  9. Nick Kask

    Awesome. Everything is awesome.

  10. JoJo

    OK I have tears, too, of joy! Your words bring precious images of time well spent. Love you, Des, your work. Your ability to embrace the moment, and heaven only knows. I love that precious Sheppard! Love you too Em!

  11. Emily

    Can’t wait for summer images!

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