ASX.TV: Richard Misrach – “Destroy This Memory” (2010)

The photographs in DESTROY THIS MEMORY are a stark, affecting reminder of the physical and psychological impact of Hurricane Katrina as told by those on the ground, and seen through the lens of a contemporary master. Rather than simply surveying the damage, Misrach – who has photographed the region regularly since the 1970s, most notably for his ongoing Cancer Alley project – found himself drawn to the hurricane-inspired graffiti: messages scrawled in spray paint, crayons, chalk or whatever materials residents and rescue workers happened to have on hand. At turns threatening, desperate, clinical and even darkly humorous, the phrases Misrach captures – the only text that appears in the book – offer revealing and unique human perspectives on the devastation and shock left in the wake of this disaster. All of the images are shot with a 4 MP pocket camera while the photographer was working on a separate archive of over 1,000 photographs with his 8 x 10 large-format camera. Created between October and December 2005, this series of images serves as a potent, unalloyed document of the raw experiences of those left to fend for themselves in the aftermath of Katrina.

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