|One Block, Photographs by Dave Anderson. |
Published by Aperture, 2010.
Reviewed by Ellen Rennard
Dave Anderson One Block
Photographs by Dave Anderson. Text by Chris Rose.
Aperture, 2010. Hardbound. 144 pp., 100 color illustrations, 8-3/4x9".
One Block is Dave Anderson's homage to a block in New Orleans located in the Lower Ninth Ward, an area where the floodwaters of Katrina dealt an especially hard blow. In documenting the rebuilding that went on there between 2006 and 2010, Anderson includes numerous portraits of the residents of this block, some at work -- painting, leveling, measuring, planting, sanding, and so forth -- others caught in the still moments between. Some of the portraits are more formal, others less so. Although the captions speak to the various concerns of these people, the photographic narrative centers around the evolution of homes; we see the before and after pictures, from sheets of plastic to fresh coats of paint, from dumpsters filled with rubble to new windows, walls, and roofs, all observed over the years Anderson returned to document the process of recovery. My favorite image shows the stripped interior of a house, shafts of light falling through a window on bare beams. In this photograph Anderson's skillful composition and use of light emphasize what is not there, and it is this absence above all that makes us feel the losses of Katrina, even as the photographs of renovation convey hope.
Ellen Rennard is a writer, photographer, and teacher of writing and literature at Groton School in Groton, MA. She graduated from Princeton, where she wrote her thesis on images of Native Americans; she also holds an MA in English from Middlebury. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Fraction Magazine and Photovision; her photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including Black and White and Orion. Images from Rennard’s book project on The Downs at Albuquerque were nominated for a New York Photo Festival Book Award in 2009 and won first place in the 2010 Px3 People’s Choice Awards for Book Proposal and Documentary Photography. www.ellenrennard.com