Richard Misrach: Destroy This Memory

Richard Misrach’s Destroy This Memory is an affecting reminder of the physical and psychological impact of Hurricane Katrina. Rather than simply surveying the damage, Misrach—who has photographed the region regularly since the 1970s, most notably for his ongoing Cancer Alley project—found himself drawn to the hurricane-inspired graffiti: messages scrawled in spray paint, crayons, chalk, or whatever materials happened to be on hand. At turns threatening, desperate, clinical, and even darkly humorous, the phrases he captured—the only text that appears in the book—offer unique and revealing human perspectives on the devastation and shock left in the wake of this disaster.

Destroy This Memory presents previously unpublished and starkly compelling material, all of which Misrach shot with his 4 MP pocket camera. Created between October and December 2005, this haunting series of images serves as a potent, unalloyed document of the raw experiences of those left to fend for themselves in the aftermath of Katrina.

Artist’s royalties for this project are being donated to the Make It Right Foundation, which is currently rebuilding the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.—the publisher