As my journey to document the unseen beauty of Atlanta took me to a bridge in West Midtown, I looked up to see a tangle of barbed wire wrapped around a post. I took the photograph simply because the scene intrigued me, but when looking through the photos later, the barbed wire evoked images of being held back or locked up, and of all the forces in our lives that make us feel that way.
Mass incarceration, human trafficking, homelessness—there are systemic and societal injustices that are keeping people imprisoned right outside the doors of our homes. Mental illness, depression, addiction—for some, their own minds are the thing that is keeping them imprisoned. On a more personal level, we all have something in our lives trying to hold us back and keep us from reaching our full potential. No matter how big or small the issue might seem, any prison's walls can seem impossible to break free from to the person that is stuck inside.
I said that my goal was to document the unseen beauty of the city of Atlanta, and at first glance there is nothing beautiful or hopeful about this image. But while the things that try to lock us up and hold us back are strong, the power of the human spirit is stronger. The barbed wire isn't the only thing in the picture—if you look past it, you can see the expansive sky and a glimpse of the world beyond.