Magazine article Nieman Reports

Images Evoke Memories and Emotions

Magazine article Nieman Reports

Images Evoke Memories and Emotions

Article excerpt

Every day we think about Hurricane Katrina. We think about the waterlines as we drive through our neighborhood. We look at the house down the street that still isn't finished. We remember what we were doing during Katrina when we drive by a house where we'd photographed people swimming out of it or we'd taken a picture of a dead body in the front yard.

All that just on the way to the office, every day.

I've been here from the beginning, when I rode on one of the first two boats launched in the Lower Ninth Ward on Katrina Monday--New Orleans slang for Monday, August 29, 2005. The memory of that day burns as fresh in my mind as the smell of a gutted house. And if you haven't gutted a house for a friend, consider it a chance missed to really get down and dirty and get Katrina under your fingernails.

For me, Katrina is personal. I saw people I know stranded at the Morial Convention Center. I pulled people out of the water and into boats. And I saw a person shot on the interstate by cops who were trying to get their city back.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

One of the challenges I confront in making visual the story of post-Katrina New Orleans is in figuring out how I can force those who don't live here to realize that this city and the Gulf Coast are at the beginning of a very long recovery process. Unlike the early days of Katrina when powerful images were everywhere, now it is harder to make a photo that has enough impact to draw an editor's attention. …

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