New Orleans after the Flood
Photographs by Robert Polidori
September 19–December 10, 2006
Accompanied by a catalogue
Marking the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the devastating floods that followed, this exhibition features approximately twenty large-scale color photographs that Robert Polidori created during four extended visits to New Orleans between September 2005 and April 2006. These quietly expressive photographs present a candid and intimate look at widespread destruction—an incomprehensible landscape of felled oak trees, houses washed off their foundations, and tumbled furniture.
Robert Polidori (Canadian, b. 1951), one of the world's premier architectural photographers, has recorded the disasters of our time as well as the failures of contemporary society. Amid the scenes of destruction and chaos in New Orleans, as in his past projects in Havana, Versailles, and Chernobyl, Polidori finds a formal beauty that radiates stillness and compassion and invites contemplation. The wrecked rooms, collapsed houses, and ravaged neighborhoods on view in After the Flood become metaphors for human fragility. Using a large-format camera, natural light, and unusually long exposures, Polidori records the destruction with a mastery of color, light, shadow, and texture that brings to life discarded mementos and mud-caked belongings. In each image, the artist seems to have captured the very air of New Orleans, weighted heavily with mold, humidity, and history.