November 2013





Vacation Bible School

I volunteered, at the “encouragement” of my wife, to photograph our church’s Vacation Bible School. Just photograph a bunch of kids running around. What could be so hard about that? Not very interesting, either. But I would do it as my contribution to the church.



When I arrived at the gymnasium, there were already many kids there sitting on the floor. These were the crew leaders holding signs with their crew number on it. As the VBS kids came in, they would be assigned to a crew.



The VBS kids started arriving accompanied by their moms. The floor was rapidly becoming a sea of noisy, rambunctious kids as their moms checked them in and they found their way to their crews. Some of the kids were crying. Some of the moms were, too. Strangely, I found I could wander around in the chaos taking photographs virtually unnoticed.


Even a curmudgeon like me couldn’t help but notice some of the emotion going on. I spotted this touching moment of a young child and his mom off to one side (first image). His attachment to his mom comes across strongly in this photograph, as does his reluctance to be left alone with hundreds of strange kids, most of whom did not look like him. I call this photograph “Clinging,” as I do the complete essay.




I decided to stop taking the snapshots of the crowd, stay with this mom and child, and document what happened. I don’t know or want to try to explain what’s going on in each photograph, but rather let each photograph stand on its own and allow the set to express a beginning, middle, and conclusion of an otherwise unnoticed story.


Phil has been seriously engaged in photography for about twenty years, although it has been a significant interest and hobby for nearly forty years.

Phil was the only photographer to have an image in the top 10 of both categories (people and places) of the 2002 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Travel Photography Contest. His work has been displayed in numerous one-man shows, and his images have appeared in several publications, most notably, Wine Spectator.

He has received purchase awards from the SLOWExposures photography exhibit in Pike County, where his work is on permanent display. Other works have been purchased by O’Charly’s restaurant in Cumming and are currently on display there. His work has been juried into many shows and exhibits including the Roswell Photographic Society, the Sawnee Artists Association and others. In 2007, Phil won the Roswell Photographic Society’s “Photographer of the Year” for projected images. Most recently, Phil was selected as one of approximately twenty photographers to exhibit two large-scale prints in the new international concourse of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

For the past three years, Phil and his wife, Janet, have been the chairpersons for the Through The Lens photography exhibition. Sponsored by the Sawnee Artists Association, Through The Lens is the first and only on-going, juried, all fine art photography exhibit in Forsyth County.

Phil has attended several photography seminars and workshops presented by George Lepp, Craig Tanner, Judith Pishnery, Larry Winslett, The Rocky Mountain School of Photography, and the Photography Weekend at Grandfather Mountain.

His primary photography genre is travel. He has traveled and photographed in France (Paris, Loire, Alsace, Burgundy), Ireland, Costa Rica, Peru, China, and Nova Scotia, as well as here at home in Maine, Colorado, Arkansas, North Carolina, and, of course, Georgia. Phil also does commercial work for advertisers and portrait clients.

Phil currently teaches photography at the Barbara A. Wood Academy of Art in Forsyth County.

Phil and his wife, Janet, also a photographer, have been residents of Forsyth County for twenty-three years.