“Home This Was” is a a developed collection of work shot over two and a half years surrounding the after effect of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding in the New Orleans area. In This book we explore how the idea of home as it relates to identity and memory, emotional loss and strength, and the effects of time (physically in the natural and human world) and the sense of time (as a feeling). Through a mix of portraiture, documentation, landscape, and abstraction we have captured a chaotic living experience for the past two and half years. This project that grew organically was Unable to fit into simple categories, the unfolding and unknowing aspect of the people’s lives mirrored the photography. It is a large reason we kept shooting. We began this project 7 days after the hurricane hit and have continued to the present moment.
In the beginning We just got tired sitting 1,300 miles away and watching the sensationalized news coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath. We had friends and history in the city of New Orleans and were compelled to find out if they were safe and doing well. Seven days later we pulled in driving a white cargo van full of relief supplies and our photo equipment. The next two weeks we spent passing out water and food, driving people to relief centers, watching and listening to pets suffering helping the ones we could. During down time we would shoot. We would meet Linda, and Keith, and Freddie. Over homemade wine we would get to know brother and sister Tiger and Cat. We would celebrate birthdays and new jobs with Robert at crawfish boils and be there when Dean was released from jail to share chocolate cake in a parking lot. All this time we would shoot. Shooting for the next three years trying to capture the honesty of the situation in all the chaos and complexity.
The project is a living passage. A ongoing book project comprised of seven chapters that touch on the emotional, spiritual, and physical condition in the New Orleans area (in particular the lower 9th Ward). There are approximately 150 images- portraits, landscapes, documentary, and abstracts- taken in 35mm and medium format. We use ephemera and grafitti. These are combined with direct quotes taken from hours of tape recorded conversations with residents and relief workers. All in an attempt to help the residents, us, and the viewer communicate and understand their situation deeper than a 2 minute news break.