Paul Clark's favorite photos of 2017

Black Mountain News
Aquilla Sellew, a sophomore from Athens, George, pulls dead weeds from Warren Wilson College's dye garden.

Depth of field

What I love about this shot is its depth of field, zooming back from Aquilla Sellew's smile to the tree and the expanding sky far in the background. An illustration for a story about Warren Wilson College's small dye garden, the photo to me captures the do-it-yourself nature of the college that has endeared itself to students and the community.

Gavin Dillard works on some poetry on the porch on his home in Black Mountain on a recent drizzly morning

Naked poet bares all

Local poet Gavin Dillard and some cats live in an old house set among tall irises and gladiolas. On a deck crowded with potted plants and book-ended by pink hydrangeas, Dillard's writing poetry in a lightly falling rain seemed best captured from ground level, where so much of his magic on the property had occurred. Though he has read poetry naked, he didn't plan to at an upcoming reading in Asheville, which was the story that accompanied the photo.

Owen girls basketball coach Aaron Fernandez, left, runs his team through a motion offense drill.

Preparing to succeed

Owen High's girls basketball team was working hard on a motion offense drill when I showed up in October to take photos. The girls were having fun with it, but coach Aaron Fernandez was keeping them focused as they worked the ball around and exhorted each other to stay on task. I was struck by their camaraderie, about how much they supported each other in their quest to excel.

Britten Olinger tenderly holds Easton as his daughter Kolbie, left, and wife Sam look on.

Brave new world

Britten and Sam Olinger opened their home to me to take photos of how the family is adapting to the wheelchair accessible features that volunteers built into their expanded home. With new son Easton in Britten's lap and daughter Kolbie playing quietly, the house exuded a warm sense of love and security that seemed like a perfect expression of the Olingers' gratitude for the community that helped them.

Anne Seaman had so many folders containing information about her son Stuart's various drug treatments that she kept them, collated by year, in a container marked "Stuart."

Reduced to ashes

A file cabinet of his medical treatments was about all Anne Seaman had left of her son, Stuart Moseley, who finally succumbed to the drug addiction he'd spent years fighting. The box was a perfect metaphor for the compartment his mother created in her thoughts for his ups and downs while he was alive. She'd learned to take care of herself, she said, and hope for the best for her beloved son.

With eyes on the moon as it quickly moves across the sun in Black Mountain’s Town Square Aug. 21 were Lilyanne Bobilya, Anika Bobilya, Emily Kleive, Nicki Grove, Kirsten Dewitt-Bobilya and Andrew Bobilya.

Blinded by science

The Bobilya family was one of dozens who filled Town Square Aug. 21 to catch a glimpse of the total eclipse of the sun. A few degrees off dead center, the square didn't get dark. But everyone there delighted in the eerie light that was totally strange and a bit fantasy-like. A break in the clouds allowed those with special glasses to see a near total solar back-out when the moon passed in front of the sun.

This Greene & Greene-style dining room chair may vault furniture-maker Brian Brace into the big time, he believes.

Braced for success

Brian Brace turns out sturdy, yet elegant Craftsman-style furniture in his shop near Dynamite Roasting. Dining room chairs he built in the revered Charles and Henry Greene style caught the attention of a California family influential in the Arts & Crafts world. During the photo shoot, Brace was still excited about what the sale - and word of mouth - could mean to his business.