After The Flood

While I had 47 prints from a dozen or so new negatives in the wash last night I took an hour to look through Robert Polidori’s After the Flood.

It is almost shameful that I have waited so long to look at Polidori’s book, eventhough the shear size of the book is a partial deterrent from just picking up the book for a casual look.

During the hurricane and flood my only contact with the disaster was through NPR news and the subsequent follow-ups. I saw relatively few images (I don’t have a TV) but curiously, I didn’t seek out those images– still or video. I thought at the time that I was getting what I needed to know from the radio and conversations with other people.

That is not to say that didn’t see any images from the disaster. I saw a good number of pictures at the 2007 National SPE conference that John Woodin, David Graham and Thomas Ness showed. I remember those images as being more intimate than those I say last night in Polidori’s book.

But it was in seeing Polidori’s the images that the magnitude of the disaster hit home. The vast number of pictures in book is enough to shed light on the scope of the wreckage. But it was his direct manner of documenting the destruction that gave me the real sense of the magnitude of the loss.

Though I came to have a better understanding of what it is to be from New Orleans, I am still having a hard time concluding how I feel about his work. It seems that I am liking and disliking it for many of the same reasons.


About Richard Boutwell

I am an emerging photographer originally from the Hi-Desert of Southern California, and relocated to Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 2002 for an intensive apprenticeship with the photographers Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee. I now live in Philadelphia, and concentrate on my own projects and writing.
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