This is a follow-on story to our initial story on the impact of Hurricane Katrina's impact on photography and culture of the area.
NATIONAL PRESS PHOTOGRAPHERS
FIRE BACK AT FEMA CENSORSHIP
In the aftermath of the storm, there was considerable controversy when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it does not want the news media to take photographs of the dead as they are recovered from New Orleans (shades of Iraq's similar ban).
The National Press Photographers Association responded quickly and pointedly. NPPA president Alicia Wagner Calzada said, "It is entirely inappropriate for a federal agency to make demands on what journalists can and cannot shoot and publish."
"While events surrounding this disaster are emotionally charged it is important to remember that government agencies should not be allowed to decide what images or stories are important to the public. As we begin to look at the events that transpired after Katrina, stories and images from the area will play an important role.
"We are sensitive to the grief and the loss connected to Hurricane Katrina and are attempting to deal with these images in a way that preserves the dignity of those who have died, but we also believe that these images are a critical tool in telling the story of this terrible tragedy and a part of honoring those that have died is telling their story."
Calzada said that images from the storm and its aftermath will be used later to describe what happened, and to help with decisions that will affect efforts not only now but also for future disasters. "Attempting to dictate what images should or should not be made, or published, gives the impression of a federal agency that is more worried about its image and how they will be perceived than it does an agency focused on dealing with the problem at hand."
INSTITUTIONS SUFFER MIXED FATES
In Louisiana, William Greiner, who helped build the photography collection, reported to me that the Ogden Museum of Southern Art escaped relatively unscathed. According to Greiner and other reports, "The museum was not looted or flooded. It had generator power for most of the storm and aftermath, the director is now working hard to have power restored."
Many of Mississippi's historic sites, artifacts and documents have been damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to assist with restoration efforts may contact the Foundation for Mississippi History, POB 571, Jackson, MS 39205.
FRIEDLANDER OFFERS PRINTS
FOR NEW ORLEANS MUSICIANS
Music is the heartbeat of New Orleans,” according to photogapher Lee Friedlander, who has visited the city often over the past fifty years.
To help New Orleans musicians recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he has donated for sale a group of photographs, all of which were made in New Orleans.
All of the purchase price will go directly to the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund, a non-profit organization. Checks should be made out directly to the organization.
Friedlander's 11 x 14 in. prints are priced at $3,000 and 16 x 20 in. and 20 x 24 in. prints priced at $5,000. My understanding is that these prices are actually lower than Friedlander's normal rates.
The prints, which are on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art may be purchased through: Janet Borden, Inc., 560 Broadway, New York, NY 10012; email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; phone: 1-212-431-0166.
Other photography arts groups are also making plans for benefits, and we will try to report on them in future newsletters.