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The Joplin tornado through the voices of those who were there.

Written By , 7 years ago

A few months ago I posted a handful of panoramic photographs I had shot the days following last year’s Joplin tornado.

Over the days I was shooting these panoramic photographs, I was also recording the spoken stories of some of the people who had survived the tornado.  The interviews were quick. I just asked people to describe that Sunday afternoon as many people on the south side of Joplin, MO huddled in their homes or rushed to the scene to check on friends and family.

These are some of the stories I heard.  

I think the gentleman at the end, Stewart Cannon, sums it up pretty well when he says, “A photograph just doesn’t do it justice.  There is thousands of tons of rubble just scattered.  The only thing I can compare it to is a city being bombed or something.  It’s just huge.”  

Being a photographer who “speaks” in photographs I would like to disagree, but I can’t.  The size of the destruction is enormous. A photograph can do it no justice.

The panoramic photographs you see here are from a collection I made over a 2 day period.  The photographs are all “stitches”, that if I printed would all be about 10 feet wide. Since this series of photographs will probably never be shown anywhere, I thought it would be good to pair up the two, panoramic images and the voices.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a year since that Sunday afternoon in May.  I have been back to Joplin multiple times since the storm and am amazed by its transformation. This same part of town has now been nearly fully cleared of debris and resembles a moonscape. That will probably be part two of this ongoing project.

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