Clothesline and House with Open Door

Left: Clothesline, Kalamazoo, MI
© Susan Carr

Intimate Landscapes Series

by Susan Carr

This body of work was produced between 1994 and 2000. The photographs were made in a variety of places including Michigan, Chicago, Savannah, Georgia and Athens, Greece. My interest was in photographing parks and older neighborhoods where I could find visual vignettes that revealed the complex harmonies of past and present. I sought out subject matter, both historically significant and mundane, which resonates for me a palatable human history. My goal is to merge place, memory and vision yielding a unified verse that captures a vivid sense of experience.

Right: House with Open Door, Lower 9th Ward, NOLA
© Gary Cialdella

Monuments:  A New Orleans Elegy

by Gary Cialdella

Six months after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast I made four trips there to photograph the aftermath. Although I had followed the news stories and felt reasonably aware of what I would encounter, I was nonetheless astonished at the vastness of the destruction. I anticipated cleanup and rebuilding efforts would be underway, but it looked as though they had barely begun. As I traveled the coast highway across Mississippi I photographed the remains of what several months earlier had been a thriving landscape. When I arrived in New Orleans and saw the hardest hit sections of the lower ninth ward it reminded me of the destruction I had seen from tornadoes in the Midwest. However, in New Orleans, it looked like virtually nothing had been done six months after the hurricane and the canal breaches that flooded most of the city. I looked out over block after block of neighborhoods reduced to a ghastly wasteland.

The subjects of this portfolio are the houses in New Orleans that were not in the direct path of the flood surge. Having withstood the receded waters they were like whispers, empty, open to the elements, identified only by the coded markings scrawled on the doors and clapboard by rescue crews. The photographs of these surviving houses represent both the resilient and melancholic New Orleans, a city whose culture continues bravely to reflect the generations who inhabited these humble dwellings of the Lower 9th ward, Bywater and Mid-City neighborhoods.

As I photographed in street after street I met only a handful of people attempting to reclaim their homes. Most of these houses may be lost – to the diaspora, condemnation, and poverty – the owners often can’t afford the cost to rebuild. These tiny homes, inhabited mostly by the poor, have been in the same family for generations. I learned that many residents had to decide whether to pay their electric or home insurance bill. A year and a half after Katrina, it is believed that New Orleans will be a city with a population about its current size, a little less than half of what it was before the hurricane. This portfolio is my testament to the brave remnants of a city that has so uniquely and profoundly stamped its image on our history.