Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm Published

After Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, I went with my father-in-law and his father-in-law to Long Beach, Mississippi to help assess the damage at the latter's house near the beach. As always, I brought my camera along, just in case I came across an interesting photo opportunity. Turns out there were lots of great photo opportunities, as you might imagine.

I then uploaded my photos to Flickr, where I host all of the photos featured on this blog. Then in June of this year I was contacted by Eric Brown and Lori Baker who told me they were compiling photos found on Flickr and other popular photo hosting sites of the various hand painted signs that were seen everywhere along the Gulf Coast. One of my photos (seen below) was of one such sign. Of the 400 photos submitted to them, mine was among the final 40 selections for inclusion in their book, "Signs of Life: Surviving Katrina".

Civil Unrest
My photo contribution to "Signs of Life" There is nothing particularly good about the photo, but then again the sign is doing the talking rather than the composition. I regret that my first published photo is not a composition I am more proud of, but this is not about ego, it is about something much bigger than me.

The official website for the book can be found at

I do not like to shove products in the faces of you, my faithful readers. I am making an exception to this rule for the second time because I think this is a good cause (the first was a good cause in my mind as well). You can purchase a copy of Signs of Life at Not to brag or anything, but my photo made it to the front page on that site too. That feels good.

If you buy a copy of the book for yourself, not only will you have a personal copy of what will more than likely be the one and only book I will ever have anything published in, but you will also be contributing to a noble cause. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be given to two charities still working in the Gulf Coast area. I hope that you all will follow the links here to purchase a copy of your very own. Here is the book's press release:


Lori Baker
(845) 519-9337


An Extraordinary Photographic Collection of Survival:
One Sign at a Time

Brown & Baker Books is pleased to announce the publication of SIGNS OF LIFE: SURVIVING KATRINA ($23.95 paperback). SIGNS OF LIFE is a moving collection of photos of the hand-made signs that appeared in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. Profits from sales of the book will go to two organizations still working in the area: Common Ground Relief and Hands On Network.

Hand-made signs—spray painted on houses, on cars, on refrigerators—were some of the first "signs of life" to appear after the flood waters receded. The signs range from the sacred to the profane, from defiant to defeated, from frightening and encouraging. The signs reveal a powerful story of those who survived the deluge.

Compiled by Eric Harvey Brown and Lori Baker, New York–based photographers and writers who volunteered in the Gulf Coast after the hurricane, SIGNS OF LIFE shows not only the traces of the violence of the storm, but also that much devastation remains one year later. The pictures in SIGNS OF LIFE come from more than forty photographers—including local residents, relief volunteers, and those just passing through. The images were found on and other photoblogs, and have been donated by the photographers for use in the book.

The messages in SIGNS OF LIFE remind us that everyone has a story to tell. "It's impossible to speak for the people who lived through Katrina. Far better to let them speak for themselves," says Rob Walker, author of Letters from New Orleans. "That's exactly what these sad, hopeful, funny and enraging images capture—and it's exactly what SIGNS OF LIFE is about."

"SIGNS OF LIFE is not your typical art book. Yes, the images are poignant, even beautiful," says author/illustrator Josh Neufeld, who wrote the foreword. "These are documentary photos, a recording of history, giving voice to those who left, those who stayed, and those who were left behind."

SIGNS OF LIFE: SURVIVING KATRINA is available for purchase at

Review copies of SIGNS OF LIFE, as well as images suitable for publication, are available by calling (845) 519-9337, or email at

For more information, please visit:

SIGNS OF LIFE: Surviving Katrina

Edited by Eric Harvey Brown and Lori Baker
Foreword by Josh Neufeld / Essay by Jimmy Chen
ISBN: 0-61513-337-1 / ISBN-13: 978-0-615-13337-9
U.S. $23.95

9" x 7"

68 pages, paperback

85 full-color images / 40 photographers

September 2006

Common Ground Relief is a grassroots volunteer organization that was formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to provide immediate aid to residents in the Gulf Coast region and long-term support in rebuilding their communities in just and sustainable ways. Since September 2005, Common Ground has an average of 150-300 volunteers on the ground at any time and a network of over 8,000 volunteers. They have provided relief to 70,000 residents in seven parishes including Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemine, Terrabone, St. Tammany, St. Charles and St. Marys.

Hands On Network brings people together to strengthen communities through meaningful volunteer action. We are a growing network of a half million volunteers changing communities inside and outside the United States. Since September 2005, Hands On Gulf Coast has: mobilized more than 2,500 volunteers from nearly every state in the country; provided over 270,000 hours of service; gutted more than 660 houses; and delivered volunteer labor valued at $4.86M.