Read the Back of your Photos (and Do NOT Leave the Stove On) Vernacular Photography of the Disaster Kind
We just "celebrated" the 30th anniversary of a killer tornado here in Michigan, the Kalamazoo doozy in which four folks lost their lives. The entire downtown area was destroyed, and I lived through it. It was the last house I lived in before moving to NYC, and I'll always remember sitting on the porch, drinking beer, ignoring warning sirens, and watching a poor soul drive up to the house on four flat tires, his arm covered in blood, to say "I just drove through a tornado" while shaking his head and trying to clear his ears. We didn't hear the typical "train sound" so often used by survivors, but the path was less than a mile away.
I was expecting this group of five disaster photos to be more evidence of a tornado. Lo and behold one has a barely legible note on the reverse which reads "Explosion at old Gilmore house" and sure enough...the offending stove is shown in one photo. Since these photos pre-date meth labs by a good hundred years, I am going to blame a gas line and hope no one was home. These would typically be called "exterior" and "interior" photographs, but the explosion has blurred those distinctions considerably.
Set of Original Anonymous "Disaster" photographs, circa 1910 Collection Jim Linderman
Expect a major announcement of photographic interest this week. Stay Tuned!