United States | 2021
In October of 2017, I was living in Sebastopol, California when the catastrophic fires that destroyed over 8,000 structures whipped through Sonoma County. Luckily, neither I nor the house suffered any physical damage. I was, however, shocked and traumatized by the fury of the blazes. Recently at dawn on a chilly mid-winter day, I began driving around Fountaingrove, one of the hardest hit areas. The scope of the devastation took my breath away. Everywhere I turned there was annihilation. Where there used to be homes, gardens, people, animals—life—I was seeing only ruins. Blackened skeletons of burnt trees. Dirt and rock, piles of fallen dead branches. Occasional oddball debris like a stove on its side in the middle of nowhere. Endings. But there were also beginnings. Sprouts of new growth trees, homes in the early stages of construction, white narcissus whose bulbs had slept underground through the cataclysm and were now, over a year later, producing their lovely blossoms. I began pondering what’s left after the fires. Heartbreak and hope, chaos and endurance, bewilderment and resolve. And art. There was a stark beauty with a kind of minimalist vibe, inseparable from the profound ache I was feeling. The inexorable power of fire—and life’s utter persistence—blew my mind. So I present these images to the viewers with the hope that they might also see something of light—and promise—in what’s left.
Photographer / Company
Special Category - Covid-19 Related Photography