Saturday, September 5, 2009
9/5/09 Stephanie Abraham- Thomas Neff Book "Holding Out and Hanging On"
“Holding Out and Hanging On,” a book of photographs documenting the devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, will stand through time as a classic conveyance of the disaster and its effects on the individuals of New Orleans. The author and photographer, Thomas Neff introduces a perspective different from that which was portrayed by the media. His photographs seem real. He was able to document the essence of the disaster because he did not engage in traditional question and response interviews with his subjects; instead he became their friend, as he stated during his lecture on Wednesday. By learning about these people on a personal level his photographs portray a much more intimate and sensitive feeling than those produced by the media and aired in newspapers and on television. The images are seemingly honest as they share experiences ranging from those of the survivors and heroes whom stayed behind to search for victims of the storm to those who stayed behind to protect their property, threatening violence among trespassers. The black and white photography somehow captures and emphasizes the tragedy that words could not fully express. Each photograph is a reminder that poetically highlights both the beauty and sometimes cruelty of life.