|Hurricane Katrina: New Orleans, LA - 2005|
|Katrina Rescue: New Orleans, LA - 2005|
|Cedar Fire: San Diego County, CA - 2003|
|World Trade Center: New York City, NY - 2001|
|Cerro Grande Fire: Los Alamos, NM - 2000|
As I followed the media coverage of southern California's deadliest and most devastating wild land fire season in October 2003, I began to question whether a natural disaster is defined by the force causing the destruction, or by the destruction caused by the force. Consider, for instance, if California's fires had raged through forests void of human development, would a natural disaster have been declared? Or, what if a hurricane leveled an island uninhabited or visited by human beings, would emergency funds be appropriated to replace trees or control erosion? And if a tornado carved a swath through a vacant field, or a mudslide swept away a barren hillside, or an earthquake rocked only rocks, would anyone even care? "Unnatural Disasters" is personal photographic endeavor inspired by the literary works of best-selling author, Daniel Quinn. My intention as a photographer is to do with pictures what Quinn does with words: Change the way people see the world by challenging their definitions of progress, success and civilization.
There are approximately 6.6 billion people living on planet Earth today. As that number continues to grow exponentially, the front line of human expansion and development moves farther and farther into wilderness areas, many of which are not suitable for human habitation. Nevertheless, we move in, stake our claims and build our cities like chips on the shoulders of mankind, daring Mother Nature to knock them off...and she does.
Some of the disasters I have included or plan to include in this project are unquestionably unnatural, while others are not so obvious. The current gallery show consists of a collection of images I captured during the aftermaths of the Cerro Grande wildfire that ravaged Los Alamos, New Mexico in the spring of 2000, the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, the deadly Cedar firestorm that devastated San Diego County, California during the fall of 2003, and Hurricane Katrina and related events that destroyed so many lives. As an ongoing effort, future Unnatural Disasters shows will include images from new disasters that strike instantaneously and old ones that have been festering for decades.
"Unnatural Disasters" is personal photographic endeavor inspired by the literary works of best-selling author, Daniel Quinn. My intention as a photographer is to do with pictures what Quinn does with words: Change the way people see the world by challenging their definitions of progress, success and civilization.
Copyright © 2008
Nanette Martin Photography