Katrina Exposed at New Orleans Museum of Art

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Katrina Exposed at New Orleans Museum of Art
Work on view at the Katrina Exposed exhibition.

NEW ORLEANS.- The New Orleans Museum of Art presents Katrina Exposed, on view through September 17, 2006. This is an exhibition of the most extraordinary Katrina images shot by local, national, and international artists and photojournalists. Many New Orleanians, and some intrepid photojournalists, came through the calamity carrying a camera. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, taking a picture was a rescue mission - a way of preserving a little rectangle of history from oblivion. What was news at the time, and will eventually become historical documentation, is today in this exhibition, a poignant visual testimony.

Eight years ago, Steven Maklansky, Curator of Photographs, introduced Underexposed; an annual event that allows, for one evening, local photographers to show and sell their images at NOMA, and to meet others in their field. Underexposed was also what Maklansky refers to as "the democracy of photography;" the medium's extraordinary ability to allow just about anyone to share their experience and vision.

Every year Underexposed featured over 100 photographers and an accompanying diversity of subject matter. But this year is different, and as one subject continues to dominate local people's thoughts and the local landscape. Underexposed becomes Katrina Exposed. Once again more than 100 photographers are participating, but this time it is not a one night show concentrating on individual creativity, but a three-month exhibition with a companion catalogue that offers a meaningful new arena of public consciousness and contemplation.

The exhibition features some of the most compelling images from the Associated Press, New York Times, Magnum Photographs, and other major news organizations whose photojournalists came to the city to witness the dramatic and traumatic events occurring during the first few days after the storm. However most of the photographs in Katrina Exposed provide an intimate insider's view by local victims whose lives have been forever changed.

"What one sees in this exhibition is human desperation," says Maklansky, "not only the usual sort that comes with catastrophe, but also a more inspiring need to find meaning, hope and even beauty amidst the destruction."

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