I saw many sets of pictures about the same event. However nearly all shows what twister did but not what happened to people. Ruined houses and other properties, but not ruined lifes. Not to visit someone over there is not very smart, we are photographers and sometimes we have to do something out of logic. We have here in Canada many similar ruins (large scale fire,…) but “no photog” runs there. However magazines editors, politicians, and many galleries just do not care what happened inside people, but rather what happened around and outside them. That “brings”, probably, money so no wonder what that gallery shows.
Seeing that ruins, as I saw, really left me just to assume that it means anything to anyone there (e.g. to rich guy it means nothing for he already have some extra houses). Just assumptions. Might be and photographers that made majority of that pictures does not have any interest to see them again. And, I believe, many pictures and digitally manipulated to get some extra $$$$. That is life today….
Stoney, by the way do you live in New Orleans?
Originally Posted by Daniel_OB
I have mixed emotions about photographing disasters. On one hand good photography of a disaster can possibly help bring greater public awareness and help. On the other hand the vast majority of people who go and photograph disasters are not people like professional photojournalists or those who have a significant audience for those photos. If you have a significant audience you can increase awareness and get aid to those suffering. If you don't have such an audience for your work and the photos you take are more likely to never get any greater audience than your local photo club or web site, your actions at the disaster scene can actually do more harm than good.
On Sept 9th, 2001, after the towers fell, there were many amateur photographers who rushed down to the WTC, not to help in the recovery but because it was an unbelievable photo op. After all how many times in one's life does one get to photograph something as significant as this. So many rushed there, camera in hand. This was inspite of urgent pleas from the mayor's office, the Police and Fire Departments for people to stay away from ground zero. Even those who were missing loved ones who were in the towers were told to stay away, yet many hobbyist photographers went there. Trampling on what was simultaneously a crime scene, an open tomb and an ongoing rescue/recovery operation.
Personally, I never want to profit from the adversity of others. The need to show just how compassionate I am does not include photographing someone while they're suffering, I'd rather lend them a hand instead.
What amusing comment, what inteligent guy, how just smart you are. Is it you expect. I think many here should appreciate your comments more than you expect. Just go on do not give up.
Tom Neff lives in Baton Rouge. He is a photographer and Professor of Art at LSU. He's got years of shooting under his belt and knows the area well...thus the different feel regarding his work from those on the 'outside' who came in to shoot.
On the other hand, I saw another show about Katrina that I thought was just right, by Thomas Neff. It was photographs of people, with written stories about what happened to them during and after the flood, and how they survived, and how they were doing a year later. It seemed more homegrown, and maybe that's why it didn't seem exploitative. It seemed as if the photographer knew the people and their stories and names, and he was telling their story for them, with their help.
He emailed me regarding his (then) upcoming exhibit. Sorry to say I wasn't able to attend the opening due to our pending move from Louisiana (thanks to Katrina).
Glad you could 'see' the difference in his work.
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In defense of my own work, I went to NOLA 5 months after Katrina. The intent almost immediately was to show the world that the area was not back to normal and still looked like Katrina had just happened.
The other intent of mine was to give the profits from my recent show of Lower Ninth Ward images, to a charity/orgazination that would actually help the people of the area. And this is what I have done. I have not made one penny on the sale of my images and will be donating almost $1000 to www.plenty.org.
Sam Portera came to the opening in Santa Fe and was witness to the interest and concern people still have in this disaster. I talked to him throughout this process, and in turn, he has become a great friend.
His work is far better than anything else I have seen, and this includes work from such big wigs like Magnum, VII, and everyone else.
Last edited by david b; 10-09-2006 at 07:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I think that disasters have fans. People want to see, they want to understand. What bothers me is when the work is done, just to make money. I am in no way trying to make money with this work, I just want to share it. I didn't announce the LULU book because I made that book for family and friends, and until today (thank you steve smith) I had given every copy I purchased away, I did not sell them, I gave them.
David's work has already raised a nice sum of money for plenty.org I was honored to attend the opening and to keep the issue alive. To let people know that, we are still recovering here. That the politicians are the ones making out with YOUR money not us home owners. That insurance companies have MADE money on the disaster.
I pgotograph as therapy and to tell our story, I thinks its a good story. Yes the images can begin to look the same after awhile. Just remind your self that you are looking at SOMEONE"S home, and they are still, in most cases, homeless over a year later.
Originally Posted by Sportera
I got home this evening to find my copy had been delivered. The quality of the book is good - better than I expected and the images are superb.
I am fascinated by the shapes formed by the dried out mud on the floors.
Some of the images of buildings show a cross with some numbers marked on the walls or doors. What is the significance of this?
Thanks for taking the time to put this project together.
I am glad you enjoyed the book!
The marks you asked about are search marks.
upon entering a house the search team puts one line or slash along with the date and unit ID, date on top unit on the left.
when the team exits the structure they complete the X with another line, the number on the left indicates hazards found (Structural, chemical etc.) The number on the bottom indicates the number of bodies found.
Disasters are inevitable. Pain and suffering is inevitable. If photographs were taken to record the event at the time, with no other motive other than simply recording the facts, I don't see any moraly reprehensive issue. Could these photographs help serve as a warning to others who don't take huricanes seriously? Could these photographs help expose the deplorable racism that many Americans face every day as New Orleans residents experienced with the lack of immediate help? Could these photographs be simply a method of some photographer to exploit suffering in order to gain recognition as a journalist? Possibly. It boils down to the idea of photography as a method of recording events. The photographer's responsibility is to record the event as he or she sees it, the editors and public will draw their own conclusions.