Joshua Lutz

COMMISSIONS: Katrina

Occasionally, I'll find myself photographing a news related event. I generally don't know what to do, overwhelmed by all the photographers with long lenses. Thoughts of doubt set in from the rapid fire of the surrounding cameras. Assuming they are probably getting far better images inevitably leaves me wondering why I am even going through the motions.

I didn't expect these feelings to arise pulling into the Ninth Ward after hurricane Katrina. Admittedly, I was drawn the to spectacle of the devastation as much as anyone else. The idea that a combination of Mother Nature and politics could bring about such a level of destruction and suffering baffled me. Once the haze settled, I started to look around and notice that for every person struggling to salvage what was left of their house, half a dozen photographers were present to capture the moment. Setting up on a hill by the broken levy, I heard "NY Times buddy, already got that shot, move on!"

To this day I am confused. I don't know how these images function; whether they are a call to action or if they simply act to make us, those not affected by the event, feel lucky.