Nature does not complete things. She is chaotic. Man must finish, and he does so by making a garden and building a wall. — Robert Frost
By now, everyone who follows this site is well familiar with photojournalist Alan Chin’s remarkable black-and-white photos of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath. Alan’s first set of images formed the basis for The BAG’s And Then I Saw These, recently recognized by the Koufax Award as 2005’s Best Post in the liberal blogosphere. If you have come to The BAG more recently, however, you probably weren’t aware of the second installment in this series, titled St. Rita Ongoing. This involves a grittier set of images taken at the nursing home where its occupants, abandoned by the stuff, ultimately drowned.
Since then, Mr. Chin has been back to New Orleans two more times. Being the craftsman that he is, however, Alan has only now printed the latest round of images — taken in December ’05. Although Chin describes these photos simply as "more architectural," I don’t think this does justice to their impact.
These new photos document, pay respect to, and visually embalm the fury of nature as dealt upon the developed world. This power is even more poignant in light of the recently rising consciousness about the environment, and the alterations we are causing to its equilibrium. At the same time, these shots also stimulate empathy for the mortals. These scenes might only be structural, but the quality of abandonment tempts us that much more to want to restore our otherwise imperfect sense of order.
(Technical note: These photos were taken in a panoramic format. Although the digital version of the images I received were originally 22.3 inches wide by 9 1/2 inches high, the photos you see here — once you click the thumbnails — are half that size. Sooner rather than later, I hope these photos are exhibited, and published. That way, they can be appreciated in all their detail, not to mention their dramatic sweep. By the way, I believe Alan will be looking in on the comment thread to address any questions or comment
(All images courtesy of Alan Chin. New Orleans. 2005. Posted by permission. Limited edition prints available through Sasha Wolf Photographs. Contact: email@example.com.)