I woke up today to hear that Paul McLeod, owner of Graceland Too in Holly Springs, MS, had shot and killed someone breaking into his home on July 15. A couple hours later McLeod was reported to have died of natural causes this morning (July 17).
I’m saddened to hear of his passing. Graceland Too is the sum total of a man who devoted his life to Elvis Presley. Floor to ceiling Elvis memorabilia covered his two-story home in Holly Springs. It was a poplar tourism spot to visit in the wee hours of the morning, especially for college students. The best time to visit was between 11 pm and 4 am and listen to an over-caffeinated McLeod share his collection and Elvis stories. Three visits made you a lifetime member, which meant you didn’t have to pay the $5 fee he charged first and second time visitors. I was one visit away from joining the hallway of polaroids featuring the life-timers who donned the aviators, leather jacket and struck an Elvis pose.
McLeod was certainly a character. At times one had wonder which was the more interesting aspect of Graceland Too, him or the collection. It was an unfortunate end to a unique life. My thoughts and prayers are with the family as they deal with the fallout of this tragedy.
These photos come from an assignment I did in 2011 for The Commercial Appeal.
In February, I stepped away from full-time freelance photography and crossed over “to the dark side” of Public Relations. I am now the Communications Coordinator for SRVS (pronounced “Serves”). SRVS is a non-profit in Memphis that provides various services to people with disabilities. This has been a good opportunity to utilize and develop some of my other skill sets like writing, graphic design, web and social media development. “More tools for the old tool box,” as some would say. There is still some photography work here and there. Also, I have found some potential documentary projects amongst the people supported through SRVS that I hope to pursue in the near future. Here are some samples of my photo work at SRVS.
I still keep a toe in the world of freelancing by working Saturdays for The Commercial Appeal. It helps with the transition of working a 8-5 desk job to have a day where I am out and about making photos. Here are some samples of my recent freelancing work.
Wow! 2013 was an adventurous year. In spite of all the people I had the privilege of photographing this year, these first two photos really represent the absolute best moments of my 2013. My wife, Hannah, and I welcomed our first child, Silas, into the world on October 28th. We had a home birth in our living room with a midwife because, to quote comedian Jim Gaffigan, (whose wife also had home births) “we believe in witchcraft.” Calling Hannah a trooper doesn’t even come close to describing the feats she accomplished bringing Silas into the world. She labored for a grand total of 41 hours, the last five of those pushing, with no pain killers! Silas was born happy and healthy at 8 lbs. 14oz. Now we are enjoying the grand adventure that is parenthood and having a blast along the way. The photo at the top is one of my favorites photos of Silas so far, he is about 6 weeks old.
Here is Hannah, about 30 hours into labor, relaxing through her contractions in the kiddie pool we set up in our living room for our water birth. Her turtle friend was a thermometer one of the midwives brought to monitor the water temperature. In order to fill the pool, I had to use two large pots while running back and forth from the kitchen.
So, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year. Here’s to all the adventures to come in 2014. Please enjoy some highlights of my work from this past year.
November 9, 2013 – Community Leaders and residents including (Above) Judy Erickson, (below left) Charlesha Smith and (below center) Diana Harris gather for a corporate prayer rally at “A Day of Prayer, Praise and Healing Explosion” at Levitt Shell hosted by The Prayer Garden of Memphis. Twenty-four Memphis area ministers prayed on twenty-four of the top issues facing the City of Memphis and its residents. The afternoon featured a Gospel concert with national and local artists.
This past weekend I met Kris O’Neil while covering a tattoo expo in Memphis. He chose to get a lion head on his chest as his second tattoo. When I asked him why a lion, he simply shrugged and said that he believed himself to have the heart of a lion.
Kris also admitted getting this chest tattoo was more intense than his shoulder tattoo. Kris grabbed onto his mom’s hand a few times while the artist inked on his new body art.