Hurricane Katrina caused a seismic shift to every aspect of New Orleans and the Gulf region. I wondered whether rebuilding could ever fix what had been broken. Would the neighborhoods recover? Would the city ever get its mojo back? Would that thing, whatever it was, that was so uniquely New Orleans return, dissipate or transform into something completely different? And what about the thousands of small communities that existed within the city — would they survive, or even flourish? What was lost was clear, but what could be recovered was not at all clear.
Following the storm, I spent two-and-a-half years repeatedly photographing a single block in the Holy Cross section of New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. I attempted to follow both the obvious physical rebuilding of the homes as well as the evolving psychological state of its residents.
I've always been drawn to locales that inspire devotion. This is no accident. I was raised in East Lansing, Michigan and continue to maintain a fierce loyalty and personal identification to that place despite the fact that I haven't lived there in over twenty years. When I see changes there, I often feel a sense of loss. What, then, of the people of New Orleans? When one resident said to me: "You just wanna be home," I thought, ‘Doesn't everyone?’
The question was: would they ever be?
Bio and contact:
Vince Aletti of the New Yorker has called Dave Anderson's work "as clear-eyed and unsentimental as it is soulful and sympathetic."
A multi-talented image-maker, Dave's work as both a photographer and filmmaker has been celebrated in the United States and abroad. He has been recognized as "one of the shooting stars of the American photo scene" by Germany's fotoMAGAZIN and named a "Rising Star" by Photo District News.
Dave's project Rough Beauty was the winner of the 2005 National Project Competition from the Santa Fe Center for Photography and became the focus of his first book, which was published in three languages with an essay by Anne Wilkes Tucker. His latest monograph, One Block: A New Orleans Neighborhood Rebuilds, was published in 2010 by Aperture Books and featured in the New York Times and Time as well as on Good Morning America and CNN.
Dave's unique talents extend not only to still photography but also into the realms of television production and the written word. A former MTV producer and director of television production in the Clinton White House, Dave's video work has also been singled out for recognition. His new video series "SoLost," created for the Oxford American magazine, recently won Best Video Series at the 2011 National Magazine Awards and he is now producing a sister series with the Oxford American and NPR, entitled "Southword." Dave's writing has appeared in magazines like American Photo and a short story of his was featured in a best-selling anthology edited by noted author Paul Auster.
Anderson's work can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Corcoran Gallery and in the pages of Esquire, Stern and ESPN the Magazine among others.
Dave is a Little Rock, AR, based photographer.
To view more of his work, please visit his website: dbanderson.com
To learn more about One Block, please visit the project website: aperture.org/oneblock/
You can buy a copy of One Block published by Aperture at both Dave's website and Aperture's website.
You can also contact Dave Anderson by e-mail: email@example.com