Art Daniels, known affectionately as "Daddy Art," was a renowned oysterman and crabber in his island community. He was particularly celebrated for his impressive track record in the annual Skipjack races, having won nine races and placed in numerous others. Daddy Art was a beloved figure and icon in Deal Island, and his legacy will endure for generations to come.
As a news photographer, I had the honor of accompanying Daddy Art on his boat during the races. I always felt humbled by his presence and his exceptional skills as a sailor. Despite his boat being in need of repairs and a fresh coat of paint, it was a remarkable testament to Daddy Art's resourcefulness, as he salvaged pieces of wood he found floating in the water to patch it up.
Daddy Art and I became close friends over time. He fondly referred to me as his "Georgia Peach" and would always reserve a spot for me on his boat during racing season.
I captured numerous photographs of Daddy Art throughout our friendship, but the one that stands out to me is the one of him holding a photo of his younger self. I gave him a copy of this photo and he signed my copy, which I proudly framed and still display to this day.
Daddy Art led a fulfilling life, and I am confident that he is now sailing happily in heaven. I imagine he has requested and received an exact replica of his beloved old boat, which he took great pride in. When it's my turn to join him in the afterlife, I hope Daddy Art still has a place saved for his "Georgia Peach" on his boat.
Daddy Art beckons me aboard as he readies for the race.
I imagine I am am the only photojournalist who every took a photo of Daddy Art relaxing inside his home with his beloved cat, Baby.
Daddy Art left this earth on June of 2017, at the age of ninety-five. His funeral was attended by his large family, friends, and his adoring fans, of which he had many.
Don't touch that photo! Copyrighted, you know?