We began this project 7 days after the hurricane hit. “Home This Was” is 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.
Through a mix of portraiture, documentation, landscape, and abstraction we have captured a chaotic living experience. A long-term project that grew organically. 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.
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 develop relationships with everything around us and continue 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. We use ephemera and graffiti 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.
Home This Was Published July 14, 2008