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Personal Surveys


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Personal Surveys

Personal Surveys are a means for me to access my past. My personal history, the lens through which I look backward, has become distorted and cannot be relied upon without the aid of extended memory—photography. My eyes deceive me, my camera, less so. Without this aid I could never be sure that I was up on the roof on that most beautiful late summer morning. I might not remember the teenage girl who gave me the peace sign, or a little puddle in the Manhattan schist.

Long ago I resolved to carry a camera with me. I often thought of the photograph by Sam Shere of the Hindenberg. That guy really nailed it. (So did lots of other photographers standing next to him at Lakehurst. Sam just got it to the wires first.) In this context I wanted to record the good, the evil, the mundane and (I hoped) the extraordinary as I conducted myself day to day.

Personal Surveys was created so that I might remember, for example, the victims of a heinous crime. Crimes where the social contract—that unspoken understanding that we don't want to wind up in hell—had been ignored. These are crimes where empathy was discarded, both in the schoolyard and in the suburb. And having remembered and recorded this, I can only shake my head and wonder.

300 Sorghum Mill Drive, Cheshire, Connecticut, July 23, 2007: Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48; Hayley Petit, 17; Michaela Petit, 11: murdered. William Petit Jr., 50: survived murder attempt.

Mount Vernon Schoolyard, Newark, New Jersey, August 5, 2007: Iofemi Hightower, 20; Dashon Harvey, 20; Terrance Aeriel, 18: murdered. Natasha Aeriel, 19: survived murder attempt.

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© 2007 - Jeffrey B. Evans