5 Photographs on 5th Anniversary of April 27 | Tornado Survivors

Today is the 5th anniversary of the worst tornado outbreak in Alabama's history. I don't know the exact total of deaths or injuries because that isn't relevant for anyone who lived through that day. Here are 5 Photographs I took of survivors from April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak in Cordova, Alabama.

1. YVONNE

  Yvonne - this picture says it all. Yvonne is sitting where The Rebel Queen used to be. She was a waitress there and her husband owned the business. On April 27, 2011 she sought quick shelter from tornado #2 (the worst one) inside the men's room - but had the wherewithal to remember here 12 pack of Coca-Cola! Nothing was left of the Rebel Queen except the men's room where she had been. When leaving she turned around to find a Jeep was on top of the men's room but was being held up by a bent pipe - the pipe Yvonne had been underneath.   

Yvonne - this picture says it all. Yvonne is sitting where The Rebel Queen used to be. She was a waitress there and her husband owned the business. On April 27, 2011 she sought quick shelter from tornado #2 (the worst one) inside the men's room - but had the wherewithal to remember here 12 pack of Coca-Cola! Nothing was left of the Rebel Queen except the men's room where she had been. When leaving she turned around to find a Jeep was on top of the men's room but was being held up by a bent pipe - the pipe Yvonne had been underneath. 

2. Cordova's Police Chief

  From Yvonne about Chief Bobo "He has always seemed to be a real good man, he took a course on Grants and paid for it himself, to help the town get grant money for a youth center! And he got equipment donated, he is married and he is a great dad you see him spending time with his family. And he has cleaned up a lot of drug dealers in Cordova, he really cares about the people and community."   

From Yvonne about Chief Bobo "He has always seemed to be a real good man, he took a course on Grants and paid for it himself, to help the town get grant money for a youth center! And he got equipment donated, he is married and he is a great dad you see him spending time with his family. And he has cleaned up a lot of drug dealers in Cordova, he really cares about the people and community." 

3. WANDA

  Wanda works for Walker Regional which is in Jasper but lives in Cordova. On April 27th she immediately went into triage for those injured. Baptist Health set up a mobile unit in the middle of town and paid for Wanda to work there for 2 weeks until the immediate crisis had passed.

Wanda works for Walker Regional which is in Jasper but lives in Cordova. On April 27th she immediately went into triage for those injured. Baptist Health set up a mobile unit in the middle of town and paid for Wanda to work there for 2 weeks until the immediate crisis had passed.

4. KEVIN

  Kevin. Great guy. When I dropped off his portraits last night I talked to him for about 30 minutes about this and that and of course how difficult things have been for him since April 27th. What impressed me was how he refuses to give in but he still has needs and lots of work to do in order to get his family settled somewhere.

Kevin. Great guy. When I dropped off his portraits last night I talked to him for about 30 minutes about this and that and of course how difficult things have been for him since April 27th. What impressed me was how he refuses to give in but he still has needs and lots of work to do in order to get his family settled somewhere.

5. BRETT

  Brett is standing under City Hall where him, his mom and another lady sought shelter. We had seen his YouTube video before we met him so I had to find him!

Brett is standing under City Hall where him, his mom and another lady sought shelter. We had seen his YouTube video before we met him so I had to find him!

Below are more photographs I took also at Cordova.

BOTANICAL GARDENS FASHION

Botanical Garden Vogue
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Model/Wardrobe: Rachel Ann Bolt
Hair: Theo Pettway
Typically I avoid shooting at local photographers' favorite places but in this case Rachel had the right stuff to do it justice channeling Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Five Man Gallery Show | Portraits and Stories

I was excited to photograph these guys all of whom are artists here in my hometown. Each one of them has different personalities, style and art. 

Shooting women is a far different experience than shooting men on a number of levels one of which is that men tend to start asking if "we are done" after an hour or so while women may more often ask "we are done already?" after 2-3 hours of shooting.  When shooting men I am trying to make them look rugged and masculine which lead me to choose a popular shooting locale that I knew had the right textures. Normally, if there is a popular spot that other photographers like to use...a lot...I tend to avoid it like the plague but in this case, I felt like we could make it cool without really revealing where we were shooting.

Follow @Inspero.Birmingham on Instagram and check their website Inspero.org for news on this and other upcoming shows and events.

Michael Whitten
Instagram: 
@wmwhittenjr @alliancepublishing

Michael describes his art: My work is sculpture: figurative and abstract in nature. My art typically represents the gift of life thru creation, the beauty of life, ones struggles and victories faced in life and ultimately death. Materials: foam, plaster, wood, scrap metal, cast iron, bronze, aluminum.


Ty Smith
Instagram: TSmith02
www.tysmithart.com

Ty describes his art: Painting is engaging in a way that I find being among close friends and loved ones. It is a visual conversation, speaking and listening at the same time. Good painting connects to our sense of humanity and imagination. It presents something personal and public.


Matt Underwood
www.underwood-art.com 

Matt describes his art: Primarily, I use acrylic, but I love to experiment with other materials and mediums to create texture on canvas. I have an on-going love affair with color and like my paintings to be bright and full of energy and passion. I am amazed by the creative process and I'm fascinated by what evolves on the canvas; the serendipitous quality of creating is very exciting to me.  When people encounter my work, I am rewarded by the fact that this experience is not just a two dimensional experience, but can be a three dimensional by encompassing sight and touch.

Marty Balencie
Instagram: @freesoul_777
www.free-soul.net
www.thesignsoflife.org

Marty describes his art: An artist and photographer I experiment with new materials in order to create innovative portraits and pieces of art.   Producing original works that can tell a story and leave the viewer in wonder can be a challenge, but being able to create is a form of therapy and meditation.   I stumbled upon using blue painter's tape as a medium over the past year and seeing people's reactions inspires me to want to continue to grow in my craft.  


E Bruce Phillips
www.ebrucephillipsjr.com

Bruce describes his art: A marriage of precise perspective with the mystery of the abstract. Vibrant or sultry colors mixed with palpable textures on an architectural framework of lines and spatial relationships. These are descriptions of my mixed media fine art. I want my art to evoke emotion and create a forum for dialogue that can only come when people bring their own experiences and openly share their perspectives with others.

 


Birmingham Magazine Fashion Feature Photoshoot

It's always the people who makes any organization great. Laura Buchanan is a great creative director because she's smart and knows what she wants but is also just a down-to-earth real person. I like that about her and I always want to make her successful as I do with anyone who hires me. Afterall, isn't that why we are photographers?

We had a small team this day but a great team and Matthew Yarborough showed his amazing eye for styling with each outfit he selected for our model, Kara.

Here are a few of the tearsheets from the Birmingham Magazine story.

I also want to share a few of the photos that weren't selected for the story but ones to which I am partial.