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What New Orleans’ abandoned homes mean to me as a local photographer

Editor’s Note: As this past August marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, national focus shifted to the mix of revitalization and remaining damages that define New Orleans today. New Orleans photographer Asia-Vinae Palmer told the NewsHour’s Corinne Segal why she chose to stage a fashion shoot for the Noirlinians photography project at an abandoned house adjacent to her neighborhood, and what these left-behind homes mean to her as a local artist. Interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

People in the city are affected by how much history has been lost, especially in the past year and post-Katrina, when it comes to houses that haven’t been rebuilt due to financial reasons. Often the property goes down and then somebody can buy it and turn it into something else. When it comes to the house, those are stories behind there. I thought it would be really powerful to photograph at a place that still had that energy.

This house in particular was also next to another abandoned house which was totally in shambles. I just felt like there was a history there and I wanted to connect with it, even if I didn’t know what the history was. The house next to it … you couldn’t even get inside the windows, all the vines growing over it and the holes in the walls. My way of describing them would be almost like sister houses of abandonment.

To see that both houses in both states are still being left to rot in the street, in between perfectly functioning houses, that strongly affects me, as an artist and person who lives in the city. That happens so often in the city. I thought it was nice to bring life to something like that — to have something that’s been forgotten about or cast aside and to bring something positive to it.

The word “parallax” describes the camera error that occurs when an image looks different through a viewfinder than how it is recorded by a sensor; when one camera gives two perspectives. Parallax is a blog where photographers offer the unexpected sides and stories of their work. Tell us yours or share on Instagram at #PBSParallax.

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