A great evening with Matt Ryan

We had a fun evening photographing a private event at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. We spend a few hours hanging out at the SunTrust Club that’s on field level. Matt Ryan was the guest for the evening and talked about his time with the Atlanta Falcon, taking Q&A from the other guests.

A few of my favorite answers from Matt I’m sharing here. I’m sure I’m not quoting him directly since there were no recordings allowed, but the memories I have of the evening were:

Q: What is your cheat day, dinner out with your wife, kind of meal?
A: My wife is a really healthy eater, so she doesn’t really let me cheat. lol. But if I had my choice, probably a large Cheese Pizza and maybe a cold beer

Q: Whats something you notice to be a big difference from several years ago?
A: It might seem silly, but digital media. I remember having those giant cd binder cases full of dvd’s from each game that I’d go back to watch and study from. Now, I’m able to have my ipad loaded with videos and I can go back and watch just about anything.

Q: What’s your opinion of Tom Brady?
A: (Matt has a big smile on his face) Oh man, Tom Brady is a great guy. A few years ago when they beat us at the SuperBowl, that night his team is all out celebrating and I get a text from him saying something like “Keep your chin up. You done an amazing job today.” So even with everything going on, he took the time to still message me and be supportive.

I had the opportunity to meet Matt Ryan in Feb 2019 when Atlanta hosted the SuperBowl. Of course it was much more of a public setting and every ‘celebrity’ knows to keep up appearances. But this time around, even with a VIP event of 100 people and a post private gathering (more VIP? a VIP’er?) with a dozen people socializing he was still an incredible guy and very humble.

The last bit of wisdom I pulled from the evening from Matt Ryan was about achieving and sustaining goals. He said to always keep working hard for what you want, but you have to have down time. He said it was one of the best bit of advice someone gave him. He couldn’t be at practice every single day of the year and not expect to burn out.
Work hard at your goal, but take the time to take care of you.

This is the second time I was thiiiis close to a Matt Ryan autograph and still didn’t get one. Maybe next time ­čÖé I’m still incredibly grateful for the opportunity to shakes his hand and chat with him a few minutes.

Matt Ryan signing a handful of footballs for VIP guests at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Photo Copyright: Chris Helton

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Stranger Things & A Smile For Days Gone By.

Everyone who watched Season 3 of Stranger Things I’m sure had their own nostalgic reactions. It’s an absolutely beautiful and well done series. Looking back, remembering the absolute best of our childhoods. Jumping on your bike and finding the other kids around town to play basketball. Riding in the far back of the vehicle, the one with no seats or seatbelt. I think we all experienced the ‘keep the door open’ rule. smiles

Stranger Things has also been special to many of us around Atlanta since the series is filmed here.

The sentimentality of time gone by was powerful this season. Not so much a longing for the past. I’m right where I belong and couldn’t be happier. No desire to go back and do it again. It’s something I feel inside. Mostly recalling or conjuring of mental images from my past. That feeling of joy from life gone by. A somatic empathy for the characters and their relationship’s with one another. All those people and moments that uncontrollably made a smile come to my face.

It wasn’t a desire of how I wished things had gone or for things to change. Just a smile of memories from days gone by. A smile and a hope that my friend is doing well.

This was back in college before the iphone even existed. ElÔÇÖs likeness brought me to think of a wonderful friend. For a time, she was certainly very dear to me. HereÔÇÖs a picture so you know what I mean. Tiffany on the left, Millie Bobby Brown (who played El) on the right. I believe Tiffany was 19 and I was 20 in these photos.
*I also just realized MBB is 15 years old. She wasn’t even born yet when I took these pictures of my friend… 15 years ago. This life slips by us faster than we ever realize.

And yes, I can certainly appreciate the irony of a photography major with only blurry images. ­čśë

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Spencer Bohren passes away

I met Spencer several years ago in Silverhill, Alabama. A small, one red light town, where he was performing at Blue Moon Farm with a handful of other musicians in the round. Each musician would play one of their songs while the others harmonized or added their own little melodic bits.

The farm has been a special place to a lot of people. Everyone who came would add money to the hat for the musicians to split. They’d bring a potluck dish, a lawn chair, and a cooler.

I was fortunate enough to record several of these shows over a year, including a couple with Spencer. His performances were nothing short of hauntingly magical.

Spencer Bohren vinyl. “Hey Chris… STAY OUTA JAIL”

He was always kinda and genuine. A soul that can never be replaced. He passes away June 8th, 2019 in New Orleans.

Night Is Falling
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Music legend Dr. John passes away

One of the first concerts I photographed professionally was the 2008 new years concert of Dr. John at the Saenger Theater in Mobile, Alabama. This was 6 months after graduating college. I’ve been fortunate enough to photograph and film a lot of amazing music since this.

Dr John. passed away June 6, 2019 of heart attack. He was 77 years old. Through his extensive musical career he won 6 grammy awards. Rock and Roll hall of fame. 30 studio albums and 9 live albums. One of his most well known songs was Right Place, Wrong Time.

Going back looking at photos of this show from almost 12 years ago. I spotted this gem too. Kristy Lee, another amazing musician. I think she played an opening set? Keep an eye out for her, she plays here in Atlanta time to time too.

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The Death of THE Wookiee

April 30th, 2019 was the last day on earth for the one and only original Wookiee. Peter Mayhew was best known as the actor who played Chewbacca in five Star Wars films. The original trilogy (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), Star Wars: Episode III ÔÇô Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Mayhew died of a heart attack at his home in Boyd, Texas at age 74.

Lucas said Mayhew was “the closest any human being could be to a wookiee: big heart, gentle nature and I learnt to always let him win”

I’ve had the opportunity to meet the wookiee on a few occasions. He was always a very kind individual. In this image I snapped in 2008, we see Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), a daydreaming wookiee Peter Mayher, and on the end a rare convention appearance of David Prowse (Darth Vader).

This is particularly special because Jeremy Bulloch doesn’t attend large conventions like this anymore, and David Prowse doesn’t attend (nor sign) anything.

I backed a kickstarter project back in 2013 for an individual who was documenting the life of Peter Mayhew, particularly surrounding the time of Peters knee replacements so he could appear in the new Star Wars movies. I backed “ART FROM SCOTT HARBEN 11″ x 17″ Metallic print drawn exclusively for our Kickstarter by Scott Harben (Lucasfilm Artist,) signed by him and Peter. Limited to only 10 prints!”
It took nearly 6 years for this artwork to make it to my door. It’s a pretty neat piece of work with a special story. I like to think of it as “The last battle of the wookiee”. RIP Peter Mayhew.

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Radney Foster in Atlanta

Radney Foster played a gig in Atlanta a couple months back. Musical legend doesn’t begin to describe this man. He’s one of a kind and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet him and to record one of his sets.

It was a bit daunting. I originally came to record Eric Erdman’s set as he opened for Radney. Eric is another amazing artist I’m lucky enough to call my friend. (Find his album on his site: EricErdmanMusic.com) Between the time I was able to get access to the room and the beginning of Erics set, I had a whopping total of about 15┬á minutes to sling all my gear out, get an audio feed, and start recording. Before Radney come on, I was able to ambush him in the green room and ask if I could also record his set. He was gracious enough to not have security escort me out, and agreed to let me film!

Below are a couple pieces from Radney’s set. The first being a reading that is guaranteed to have you laughing, smiling, and crying all in a 12 minute story. Short of a Mike Rowe narration, this is┬áone of the best readings I’ve ever heard. It’s called ÔÇťBridge ClubÔÇŁ from the collection of Radneys book ÔÇťFor You To See The StarsÔÇŁ.

The second one I’m able to officially release is a reading and the accompanying song, both titled “Sycamore Creek”.

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Nick Branch @ the Frog Pond

Last week while going through video of CJ Watson, I cut together a couple songs by Nick Branch as well. Another amazing musical talent and great guy.

CJ was such a guitar beast, check out his fun addition playing his guitar behind his head in this video!

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The world is a little quieter and a little sadder with the loss of this extraordinary musician.

CJ Watson was an amazing musician, absolutely amazing, and the world is a little quiter and a little sadder without his voice.

I had the opportunity to meet this wonderful artist a few years ago. He was kind, warm, and genuinely brought a smile to every ones face. I was fortunate enough to record a few of his songs during a performance at The Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill, Alabama. On stage we had Sergio Webb, Randall Bramblett, Beverly Jo Scott, Nick Branch, CJ Watson, and Jeff Gilkinson

I can’t help but chuckle when I think about him singing “I Found Jesus”

Devil Prayed For Mercy

More To Love

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Abe Partridge ~ The Undisclosed Location in Southwest Asia Killing Floor Blues

Abe Partridge is a variety of music I don’t think I’ve heard anywhere else before… and I like it!

I was down in Mobile, Alabama a couple months ago and had the opportunity to film Abe playing an opening set at The Steeple. If you want someone with an interesting life story, this is your guy. I’ve got a couple songs that Abe was gracious enough to let me release. Here’s the first of those. “The Undisclosed Location in Southwest Asia Killing Floor Blues”.

Love In The Dark

Abe Ptraidge’s 403 Freakout

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