PHOTOGRAPHY: The Art of the Post-Katrina Fridge

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The Spoiled Cover
The Spoiled Cover
Recently we featured a photography series from New Orleans design studio Louviere + Vanessa that eerily explored the city post-Katrina; now we offer more Crescent City disaster photography, in a somewhat lighter vein, from Tom Varisco of Tom Varisco Designs, who focuses on abandoned fridges in a snappily designed $12 booklet called Spoiled. Varisco says his house suffered minor wind damage and his studio was unscathed, but "returning to New Orleans 18 days after Katrina, I needed to create a project that would take our minds off the devastation and would also help us confront what had happened." At that time, Varisco recalls, "New Orleans was a cross between a ghost town and a horror movie set. Part of what was happening was humorous, in a dark kind of way. Most residents didn't return to their homes for at least three weeks after the hurricane hit; they found themselves without power, and their refrigerators, of course, were filled with spoiled food. Most fridges were placed on the street for pickup and disposal. Eventually, people spray painted personal messages as well as political and social comments on them. Spoiled serves as a snapshot of a singularly weird time in our city's history. I think it captures the creativity and sense of humor — and sense of the absurd — of our citizens." Varisco, who shot all the photographs, designed and produced the booklet with his colleague Rebecca Boehm and distributed it himself to local bookstores. "After the local paper ran a feature on my studio and the book, sales started to soar and other bookstores started calling," he says. It's now available from and
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