Simplicity amid chaos

Standing in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, I am silent, surrounded by hundreds of homes destroyed, thousands of lives shattered, and 360 degrees of ruin. It is my first assignment photographing a major event. How can I possibly capture the magnitude of this situation in a photograph? Overwhelmed, I lower my head and concentrate on the ground.

Suddenly, this picture is staring back at me. Deep cracks in the dried silt - a small piece of earth untouched since the hurricane waters receded. I took hundreds of photographs as I walked around New Orleans, but the simplicity of this image moved me. Instead of cars piled on top of one another and homes crumbled to their foundations, this photograph is a subtle, yet powerful reminder of everything the hurricane left behind - and what must heal.

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