Jennifer Shaw’s 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 six thousand miles on the road before we were able to return home…

So begins the artist’s statement in Jennifer Shaw‘s book of photography, Hurricane Story, which will be released by Chin Music Press in July. It is a visual narrative told in simple prose and forty-six photographs of toys and dolls taken with a Holga camera. Shaw will celebrate the release at Octavia Books on July 7 at 6 p.m.

Shaw initially self-published the book via Lulu, and released it to acclaim in 2007. Chin Music has taken the opportunity to provide the photos, story, and experience with a proper published art object. The new hardcover edition features an elegant design that presents the images and story cleanly while allowing them to retain their surreal and melancholy feel. It also includes an introduction by Rob Walker, author of Letters from New Orleans and “Consumed” columnist for New York Times Magazine.