"There was an eerie orange hue to the sky . . ."
In addition to my work with weddings and portraiture, I provide my services to the magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville, East Tennessee Catholic. My roots are in street photography that lends itself to photojournalism.
And I love doing it. I get to meet some great people and experience some powerful moments. One of which was when I was asked to accompany the Reed family back to what remained of their home, destroyed by the wildfires that ravaged Gatlinburg.
Their story can be read here. But let me share some of my observations along with my images.
As you can imagine, it is hard - especially when you have kids - to lose your home. But the attitude of David and Debbie is amazing: they are so grateful. Grateful that their family is safe. Grateful for the community that is helping. And I think grateful for their faith that saw them through it all.
And "through it all" is a lot here. This was not just any house fire. This was a fire storm. I recall when I drove out to their home, at one point along what is called the Spur Road, connecting Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, David said to me, quietly, "This is where I thought we would all die." I cannot imagine the emotions - fear, frustration, anger, grief - in a man who has that moment where he thinks he cannot save his wife and children, that they would be trapped in the family car and killed.
But they did not. And they will rebuild. The Reeds are a beautiful family and I look forward to when I can photograph them in their new home.
Read their story. Be thankful for what you have. Know what is important.
And may I thank men like Bill Brewer, the editor of East Tennessee Catholic, Jim Wogan, the Communications Director for the diocese, and the Very Reverend Richard Stika, Bishop of Knoxville, for allowing me the opportunity to photograph stories like this.