Bridges of New Orleans
The idea to create photographic metaphor about New Orleans came to me while documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. For five years I photographed varied stories portraying New Orleans struggling to recover. Some stories focus on efforts to rebuild neighborhoods. I used the city’s bridges to visually and geographically frame these communities, while describing their economies, histories, and cultures. Other stories recount individual experiences of evacuation, relocation, and return. Themes of migration, connection, and marginalization are drawn from a complex narrative of the 1960’s interstate system and the endemic racism of infrastructure development and poor urban planning in New Orleans.
I release the camera’s shutter to petition for connection and empathy. My photographs illustrate ways in which our humanity percolates through the dark and light moments of our lives, tapping into what unites us, despite our diversity. My art is not just the photographs but also their contextual display, in a community and with community input. I create exhibitions that are accessible and engaging to diverse audiences and participants, with the hope that the work ignites and contributes to social conversations.
My work is social documentary. My photography is project-based and interactive. I take time to learn from the people and places I photograph and allow my images to form around that learning. I experiment with aesthetic choices - film/digital, the shape of the frame, color/B&W. Editing, sequencing, and text are critical; these elements guide my ideas for presentation and audience.
Lori Waselchuk is a documentary photographer whose images have been published in many newspapers, magazines and new media including Newsweek, TIME, Life, Smithsonian, Photo District News, Der Spiegel, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, National Journal, The Independent, Newsweek.com, foto8.com, and Lenswork Extended. She has produced photography for numerous humanitarian organizations and foundations including CARE, UNICEF, United Nations World Food Program, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the Vaccine Fund.
In 2007, Waselchuk began documenting a hospice program in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where both the caregivers and the patients are serving long-term prison sentences. In 2009 Waselchuk received a Distribution Grant for Documentary Photography from the Open Society Foundations to produce Grace Before Dying, a traveling exhibition of photos and quilts made by the volunteers. Since its launch in 2009, the exhibit has traveled around the country, showing in prisons, farmers markets, museums, colleges, libraries, conferences, hospitals, and special events. Grace Before Dying was published by Umbrage Editions in 2011.
Waselchuk’s work has garnered numerous distinctions and awards including, Pew Fellowship for the Arts in 2012, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Publishing Initiative Grant in 2010, the Aaron Siskind Foundation’s Individual Photographer Fellowship in 2009; the Open Society Foundations’ Audience Engagement Grant in 2008; the PhotoNOLA Review Prize on 2007; and the Southern African Gender and Media Award for Photojournalism in 2004. Grace Before Dying was also a finalist for the Aperture West Book Prize in 2008 and for Critical Mass Portfolio Review in 2006 and 2008. Her work is found in private and public collections including: the South African National Gallery, New Orleans Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art, Louisiana State Museum Collections, The Free Library of Philadelphia.
Click on any of the thumbnail images to launch the viewer. You can then navigate forward and backward within the portfolio by clicking the left or right side of the enlarged image. Click the add to collection checkbox to automatically add an image to your collection. Image tags or search engine keywords appear below the collections' checkbox and each word or phrase is a link to potentially more image matches.