Jennifer Shaw

The Storm.

For those of us so remote as to witness it by MSNBC and CNN, it was horrifying enough. To know people there, share their concern, and watch their way of life change irrevocably is mind numbing.
I don’t know about you , but it is still something I have a hard time wrapping my head around.
Jennifer Shaw’s Hurricane Story is one of those stories I will never forget, her color images rich and creative. Her use of toys, and a toy camera make the story engaging in a way that journalistic images cannot.

Jennifer has done a number of beautiful bodies of work, but her images from this portfolio just really stick with me.

The story –
I was nine months pregnant and due in less than a week when Hurricane Katrina blew into the Gulf. In the early hours of August 28, 2005 my husband and I loaded up our small truck with two cats, two dogs, two crates full of negatives, all our important papers and a few changes of clothes.

We evacuated to a motel in southern Alabama and tried not to watch the news. Monday, August 29 brought the convergence of two major life changing events; the destruction of New Orleans and the birth of our son. It was two long months and 6000 miles on the road before we were able to return home.

Hurricane Story is a depiction of our family’s evacuation experience – the birth, the travels and the return. These photographs represent various elements of our ordeal. The project began as a cathartic way to process some of the lingering anger and anxiety over that bittersweet journey. It grew into a narrative series of self-portraits in toys that illustrate my experiences and emotional state during our time in exile.

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