The impact of a photo

Published 1:49 pm Monday, October 2, 2017

CORDELE — There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.  So what makes a picture so valuable? Is it its ability to capture a moment in time forever?

For Earl Murray, photography was a passion that went beyond a hobby and business. The past two weeks, Murray’s granddaughter, Tammy Suggs Robinson has opened up her grandfather’s studio to local residents to peruse through old photographs.

Responsibility for the studio was passed from Murray, to her mother, to herself on the studio. With the current location of the studio not being rented any longer it was time for her to clear out the inventory.

Her grandfather has been taking photos since the 1940’s to give people an idea of how many photos were in the building.

“He’s always been taking photos for my entire life and I remember seeing him doing some war time photos (World War II),” Tammy said. “He would take photos of things going on, just anything really, he was a photographer.”

Looking throughout the store, portraits, wedding photos, graduation photos and family gatherings were littered across the floor and stack on the shelves.

Every day for the past two weeks Tammy has opened up the shop and allowed people to come into the store to browse what is left as a nice gesture.

“It’s been full, I’m not very good at estimates, but people really came out on Saturday,” Tammy said. “It was crowded, but some people have been coming everyday.”

Tammy plans on having the store open until the end of the week allowing people to get pictures. Afterwards, she plans on letting the Crisp County Historical Society sort through pictures to see what can be kept.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to get things cleaned out,” Tammy said.

One person that has been to the store multiple times is Rusty Parker.

“This must be the sixth day I’ve been here,” he said laughing. “It’s special. The tears that have flowing from this event because people seeing old photos is amazing.”

Parker says that he is one of the original members of Crisp Academy’s graduating class. The first day he was at the shop he found a picture of an old classmate he hadn’t seen for more than 40 years.

“I found her online and chatted with her and told her I found a photo of her,” Rusty said. “If she is able to go to the Crisp Academy 50th anniversary I plan on giving her the photo then or I’m going to travel to give it to her.”

Tammy’s act of opening the doors to the community has allowed people to take a trip down memory lane. She even has let visitor’s keep the photos free of charge and charges only two dollars for a picture frame.

Some people have given her money for her kindness, something she has not sought out but greatly appreciates.

“She is just like her mother and father,” Rusty said. “She has a permanent smile on her face and is always doing for other people just like her grandfather did.”

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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.