National Geographic : 2015 Aug
PROOF A PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL | proof.nationalgeographic.com Will Steacy Photograph found May 2006 The first trip I made to New Orleans was six weeks after the flood. Nothing could prepare me for what it felt like to be there: the smell, the mud, the stale air, the heat, the mold, the pain, the sheer magnitude of it all. Everyone’s posses- sions were strewn about the streets. I kept seeing flood-damaged family photographs among all the debris. The faces in these pictures, peering up at me, stopped me in my tracks every time. Here was the evidence of people’s lives before the storm. I began photographing these altered snapshots as a way to tell the story of the people who weren’t there. Frank Relle December 2005 After Katrina I would go out driving in New Orleans, where I was raised. In the complete darkness of a city without electricity, I found locations by using my headlights. Many of the street signs had been washed out, and I often became lost in my own city—a place made surreal by the hurricane and the mass exodus it had caused. Though I’ve searched many times for this grocery store, I haven’t been able to find it again, and so this photograph has become emblematic for me of the disorientation and dis- placement I felt after the storm.