INSPIRE TEAM: Mark Higgins

In this series of blog posts we are introducing the folks who are team members and organizers for Inspire 2013 by posting about personal projects and how the have helped as wedding and portrait photographers. I'm first out of the shoot, I'm the owner of MARK ANDREW PHOTOGRAPHY and I specialize in wedding and family photography.

Where to start? My best work comes from working in a constant state when I get started on a project so this was one hurdle I encountered when I began the three year journey of photographing the Lower 9th Ward after Katrina. The second hurdle was remaining an impassive bystander and documenting what I saw. This project is the hardest thing I've attempted in photography.

This is a very personal project for me because I lived in the New Orleans for ten years after college and my two oldest children still live down there. We as a family have been affected by Katrina since that weekend in August of 2005 and in some ways things have never been the same. I wanted to document New Orleans during this time so I had a visual history to pass on to my children. I also wanted to test myself as a documentary photographer and separating myself from my emotions was a real challenge. Most of the time I succeeded, but there were times I failed miserably. I had one trip were I photographed for ten days and half way through I retreated to my friend Brian Champagne's place on Lake Martin and spent a couple of days photographing wildlife from his boat as he took tourists on swamp boat tours. I just had to get away and clear my head.

I took a very straight forward approach with the portfolio I developed and created traditional photographs depicting the Lower 9th Ward and surrounding areas as they remained. They photographs were taken with mostly wide angle lenses and I chose this format as it allowed me a more intimate look into the homes and lives affected by Katrina. Over three years I made 10,800 photographs an these are a select few below.