Monday, January 23, 2012

Jennifer Shaw and Her Hurricane Story

Given that I am in New Orleans, I thought I would stick with the New Orleans theme. One of the most creative bodies of work to come out if the Katrina disaster was the work of Jennifer Shaw. The timing of the hurricane and the birth of her child collided and she told her story with the camera.

We left in the dark of night. 2007

In her words...

"I was nine months pregnant and due in less than a week when Hurricane Katrina blew into the Gulf. In the early hours of August 28, 2005 my husband and I loaded up our small truck with two cats, two dogs, two crates full of negatives, all our important papers and a few changes of clothes. We evacuated to a motel in southern Alabama and tried not to watch the news. Monday, August 29 brought the convergence of two major life changing events; the destruction of New Orleans and the birth of our son. It was two long months and 6000 miles on the road before we were able to return home."

At the motel in Andalusia we tried not to watch the news. 2007

The Next Morning We Turned on the TV

"Hurricane Story is a depiction of our family’s evacuation experience - the birth, the travels and the return. These photographs represent various elements of our ordeal. The project began as a cathartic way to process some of the lingering anger and anxiety over that bittersweet journey. It grew into a narrative series of self-portraits in toys that illustrate my experiences and emotional state during our time in exile."

At 3:47 a boy was born. 2006

In spite of it all there’s no place like home. 2007

Jennifer is one of the founders of the New Orleans Photo Alliance, a photographic organization that was started after the Katrina disaster and has blossomed into a wonderful organization supporting the photographic arts. NOPA also sponsorsPhotoNola, the December celebration of photography in New Orleans. It is a fabulous event in an amazing city.

The Hurricane Story is available thru the Chin Music Press. More of Jennifer's work can be seen HERE.

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