LIVING IN PARIS I’M OFTEN TOLD HOW LUCKY I AM TO LIVE IN ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN THE WORLD. IT’S FUNNY, REALLY, AS I DON’T SEE IT THAT WAY. NOT ANYMORE. AFTER A CERTAIN TIME YOU TEND TO LOOSE SIGHT OF THE BEAUTY YOUR CITY HAS TO OFFER AND ALL YOU SEE IS THE OTHER SIDE. THE SIDE THAT IS DIRTY, NEGLECTED, BROKEN. THE PARTS OF THE CITY TOURISTS DON’T SEE. THE DIRT IN THE STREETS, THE DARK ALLEYS HIDDEN IN THE SHADOWS OF MAJESTIC BUILDINGS.
Every big city in the world has that double side. The part that is dazzling, a enchanted presentation of modern architecture or a silent reminder of a rich and glorious past. And the other side. The side where city life is being lived by the people who inhabit it. Less glamorous. Darker and dirtier. Atlanta, Georgia is no exception.
Originally founded as a railway milepost that was known under the name Terminus, Atlanta was first recognized as a town in 1842. By that time it counted 6 buildings and 30 residents. Now, 172 years later, Atlanta is the most populous city and capital of the state Georgia. The name of city has a magic ring to it, not in the least to a less than magic past. With Georgia being one of the Slave States, the city of Atlanta played a major role in the Civil War between 1861 and 1865. The war made Atlanta a hub for distribution of military supplies. It brought many inhabitants and the city grew explosively. It also resulted in total destruction when General Sherman ordered the city to be burned to the ground on November 11, 1864. But that didn’t stop the people from rebuilding their beloved city after the war and gradually Atlanta developed itself in the most important and powerful city in the state of Georgia.
Atlanta never was a typical southern city, and during the Civil War fire much of the original architecture was burned. Still one can find remnants of the cities turbulent past. Today Atlanta has its own characteristic skyline, like so many great American cities, but between those concrete, iron and glass towers one can still find some old brick buildings with colonial facings. And often behind those historical buildings small and dark alleys are hidden, sheltered by the modern architecture from the southern sun. Many would ignore those alleys, often used as dumpsters. But not James C. Lewis.
James C. Lewis is the renowned photographer of Noire3000 | N3K Photo Studios LLC in Atlanta. Known for his fashion photography, James enjoyed international recognition with his Yoruba African Orishas series and The Orisha Experience exhibition which was held at the CRE8 Gallery in London late last year. James has a wonderful ability to capture true beauty with his camera, and obviously he knows how to recognize beauty where others might not even see it. As his latest series with newcomer Justin Howard proofs.
Justin Howard is an athlete and former Military. For James C. Lewis, Justin is the embodiment of masculinity with striking features and a strong presence. And we couldn’t agree more. For his first shoot with Justin, James choose a back alley somewhere in Atlanta. Anonymous. Forgotten. Dirty with just some think plastic construction sheets left behind. The kind of place no one would ever think of being interesting. Except James. With his talent and skills, and the presence of Justin Howard, James simply transformed this alley in a most glamorous location. A place where magic happens, as it often happens in places where you least expect it. I don’t know about you, but I think this alley should forever be included on the historical list of places to be seen in Atlanta. An alley forgotten by the people, but restored to glory and brought back into the light by James C. Lewis. –BM-
JAMES C LEWIS | BEAUTIFULMAG