Photographs by Aric Mayer

BOMB 95 Spring 2006
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A Refrigerated Seafood Truck Hangs in an Oak Tree, Near Buras, LA. All photos by Aric Mayer.


On the following pages appear photographs by Aric Mayer, an East Africa-born, Brooklyn-based photographer. Mayer entered New Orleans with his camera on September 4, 2005, less than a week after Hurricane Katrina. In the following weeks, he made a large body of medium-format photographs covering the city from flooded Lakeview to the completely wrecked Plaquemines Parish. Here Mayer works to reverse the approach of the breaking news coming out of New Orleans by making the viewer the main character in the narrative of the city’s haunting landscape, using operations of the sublime and the grotesque to acknowledge the immensity of the damage.

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Going into the Flooded Neighborhood of Lakeview in New Orleans Near the 17th Street Canal Levee Breach, September 4, 2004.

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A Street in the Bywater Neighborhood of New Orleans.

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The Poland Street Warehouse Smolders on September 5, 2005, a week after Hurrican Katrina hit.

Aesthetics of Catastrophe by Aric Mayer
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For the past five years I have been engaged in a quixotic process cataloguing the artifacts of a material world in decline.

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Many months ago, when I first heard of Beasts of the Southern Wild and knew absolutely nothing about it, I wondered what type of an animal it could possibly be; the title so completely engaged my imagination.

Originally published in

BOMB 95, Spring 2006

Interviews Dana Schutz, Harrell Fletcher, Tacita Dean and Jeffrey Eugenides, Frederic Tuten and Bernard Henri-Lévy, Lynne Tillman and Paula Fox, Judd Ne’eman and Janet Burstein, Charles Atlas, and Marsha Norman and Adam Rapp.

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