Jennifer Shaw – Hurricane 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 first 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.”

Shaw01We left in the dark of night Shaw02I was due in less than a week
Shaw03At the motel in Andalusia we tried not to watch the news Shaw04My water broke at 1:30 that morning
Shaw05We sped for hours to a midwife Shaw06Her eyes were beautiful but the hazmat sheild was distracting
Shaw07When we arrived at the hospital it was time Shaw08At 3:47 a boy was born
Shaw09The next morning we turned on the TV Shaw10The news got worse and worse
Shaw11It was impossible not to watch Shaw12There were rumors of alligators in the streets

The story continues on Jennifer Shaw’s website


The Hurricane Story book will be released in July 2011 by Chin Music Press.
Signed copies are available to order on photo-eye.