Editor's Note - CL welcomes new staff photographer

Joeff Davis comes from Chicago

Atlanta, meet Joeff Davis. Joeff, meet Atlanta.

Actually, you two already have met (sort of), courtesy of this week's cover photo. It's an unflinching image that Joeff shot last week in one of his first assignments as Creative Loafing's staff photographer.

CL's been lucky when it comes to shooters. For the last five years, our lone staff photographer was Jim Stawniak, whose exceptional use of composition and lighting rendered striking real-life and studio images. Jim was honored with several awards, most recently winning first place in photography in 2005 for Creative Loafing from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

He left CL in March to freelance, and it was quite a challenge finding someone to replace him. Then, CL Operations Editor Lea Holland and I were wowed by Joeff Davis. Check out Joeff's website at joeff.com, and you'll be wowed, too.

Joeff's a Chicago-area native, who studied photography at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer in Chicago for a decade. His work has been published in Rolling Stone, the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Tribune, New York, the Village Voice and many other publications. His photographs have been the subject of a dozen exhibits.

Lea and I were struck by Joeff's energy and compassion, as well as his talent. That's shown in some of the extracurricular work he's done over the years. While at Hampshire, Joeff founded a free photography program for poor kids in Holyoke, Mass. He called it Positive Development. More recently, he's taught photography at the College of DuPage near Chicago.

I was impressed at Joeff's approach to this week's cover assignment. Scott Henry's definitive article picks apart Georgia's controversial new sex offender law. It casts particular light on an injustice suffered by Wendy Whitaker, whose face is on the cover. When Joeff visited her home in Harlem, Ga., he sought images that conveyed Whitaker's humanity. I think he achieved that with the photos inside (p. 34) and on the cover.

I hope you'll get to observe Joeff's ebullient energy if you see him on assignment. Even if you don't see him in person, though, you'll at least get to see what he comes up with in the paper.


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