Volumes are spoken by Lori Waselchuk’s photo of a cooler next to a hole cut through a roof. The effect of all these portraits, still lifes, and landscapes is an understanding of the human experience and loss. Some of the photographs contain images that people who were not there might not understand, such as the Xs on the doors and walls of houses that were checked for bodies, accompanied by numbers indicating if and how many were found.
Introductory and closing essays add to the raw images of the photographs, expanding our intellectual appreciation of all that happened and why, but do not achieve the same emotional impact. The pictures are dramatic, unsettling, odd, funny, crazy, hopeful, and hopeless. Next year, the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans will present an exhibit from Before (During) After. (Next month, the museum will host “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond.”)
Bottom Line: Would I buy Before (During) After? Yes, it is a dramatic collection of moments caught on film — terrible, devastating, and somehow beautiful.