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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

The Boards target for 2023-2024 was 32.5% of schools needing Tier 2 or Tier 3 support. They have exceeded this goal with 29.2% of schools reported needing the support.
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Girls track coach writes photography book

Carys Brightwell
Physical Education teacher Joshua Washington garnered his love for drone photography after seeing fascinating graffiti during his trip to Montreal. Washington fell in love with the art form and created a book to showcase his talent.

Physical education teacher and girls’ head track coach Joshua Washington has a secret hidden interest: photography. Inspired by the art of taking photos, he wrote and published two books exploring photography from different lenses. Both books are focused on the distribution of his Polaroid images around Georgia. 

“Essentially, what I do is I pick a theme; I take pictures of it, and then I print these small Polaroid-sized images, and I leave them in different places around the city, in random places,” Washington said. “Let’s say you’re on the MARTA bus headed home; you’re on the train; you’re anywhere, grocery shopping, you’ll reach down in the milk carton, and you’ll pull out and see a random Polaroid, and it’ll be a picture of mine.”

Washington said he got the idea of leaving art around Georgia while he was visiting a cousin in Montreal.

“When I first got to Montreal, I was walking around the neighborhood with my cousin, he was showing me around where he lived,” Washington said. “And when you’re a photographer, you look at everything from a photographer’s eye. So, you see different things that other people don’t see.”

In Montreal, Washington said he noticed graffiti in an alleyway that caught his eye.

“I was like, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool,’ “Washington said. “I asked my cousin how long [the street artwork] had been there. And he didn’t even know it was there.”

Seeing the alleyway set Washington’s creative journey in motion, pushing him to the idea of writing a book. 

“I started to think how cool would it be to find artwork but, this time, in my home city where I’m from,” Washington said. “If you were walking around just in your day-to-day, and you just found some artwork. I thought that would be pretty cool, and that’s how that idea was born, in terms of leaving art around.”

Alex Wallace, a member of the Student Support Team at Midtown, said he was surprised when he found out Washington had written a book. 

“I noticed that he had a book after I followed him on Facebook,” Wallace said. “I was  like, ‘Oh my God,’ I didn’t know he had a book.”

After researching the book, Wallace purchased it.  

“I was intrigued by [the book], and I found it interesting,” Wallace said. “I did not know he had all those gifts and talents and interests.”

Washington said including drone photography in his second book, “Above All Else,” showed a  different perspective on photography to appeal to all kinds of people. 

“There are a lot of photography coffee table books, but they’re all from the same perspective,” Washington said. “And so, regardless of what the theme is, if the perspective and the angle is the same, it doesn’t make a big difference. So, I wanted to make sure that when I’m talking to people, and they’re asking me what makes yours different, I can give them a legitimate answer in terms of what makes them different.”

Washington said showing various kinds of photography in books is rare; so in his book, he wanted to create a fresh twist by using drones to take pictures over a regular camera.

“The locations themselves I took them [the photos] at are pretty cool, but from the perspective of a thousand feet in the air, it creates a whole new sort of angle or purview from it,” Washington said. “Something that looks regular or something you might have seen before when you see it from that high up, it creates another viewpoint you’re not going to see in many books, especially not coffee table books.” 

Junior Julia Williams, who had Washington for health, said she liked the concept of drone photography. She may like this concept but nowhere has she said has she actually seen it in his book or that she’s actually seen the book at all.

“I think drones can definitely give photography more dimension to the book, instead of just text,” Williams said. “Photography is usually from a person’s viewpoint, so seeing photos from the air is definitely very cool.”

Wallace said he appreciated Washington’s humility regarding his book’s success. 

“It was interesting that a teacher has a book,” Wallace said. “I was really impressed that he didn’t brag about it. He didn’t make a big deal out of it. You know my personality. I would be like, ‘Oh my God, I got a book.’ But he wasn’t like that. He’s very humble; so I was excited.”

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About the Contributor
Carys Brightwell, News Associate Managing Editor
Carys Brightwell is a junior and this is her third year writing for The Southerner. She is the secretary for Beta Club and is a part of the Latin Club, SGA, Book Club, Earth Club, First Century Leaders, and JSU. When she's not spending her time writing she's either with her friends, playing the bass, or sewing something new.

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