Disaster Shots

On May 4, 2007, a tornado destroyed 95 percent of Greensburg, Kansas, a small city that had previously been best known as home to the world's largest hand-dug well. The devastation drew photographers from all over the world, including Larry Schwarm, known for his prize-winning photos of prairie fires. For Schwarm, however, this wasn't just another assignment: He grew up in Greensburg. His large-scale color photos of his hometown post-tornado, on display now at the exhibit "Aftermath," document a city turned inside-out. The children's book section of the county library sprawls between knocked-down walls. A closet, its contents strangely still neatly on hangers, stands bereft beneath a stripped roof. Clothing floats ghostly in trees. In "Aftermath," Schwarm's photographs are aptly paired with Debbie Fleming Caffery's black-and-white images of Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many of Caffery's photos are peopled with survivors, their faces suffused with shock, their painted declarations ("We R Alive") testament to miracles. These are the people we left behind. Thanks to Caffery, their survival is assured, at least on celluloid.
Dec. 28-Jan. 26, 2007

 
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