How painful is a shot
What about those who survive? For Kathy Shorr, the question was at the beginning. Because the dead were always there: the author worked as a teacher and often saw students wearing laminated photos on chains around their necks. Photos of friends or family members who had been shot. But in 2013 alone, the year in which the question arose, there were 84,258 so-called "non-fatal injuries" from firearms in the USA. Who is interested in those affected? Shorr wondered. And started taking pictures of them.
The result: "Shot", which has just been published by Power House Books. It shows people who survived. A blues singer, the vice president of a bank, a former prostitute, a psychologist. Small business owners, office workers, social workers, university professors. Many of those photographed are under 20 years of age. For "Shot" they went back to the places where they were shot.
It was important to the photographer not to portray these people as victims. "The survivors move forward: with strength, courage and determination," writes Shorr in the foreword of the volume. And so the illustrated book is not an anthology of the victims, but rather an anthology of their courage. The pictures were taken between 2013 and 2015. The places where her life almost ended are shockingly normal. It happened to many in their own home, their car. Others in the church, on the street.
Orwell is quoted in the introductory text about what she hit: "The whole experience of being hit by a bullet is very interesting ... Roughly speaking, it was the feeling of being in the center of an explosion. It seemed. ... being a blinding flash of light around me and I felt a tremendous shock - no pain, just a violent shock like the one you get from a terminal, a feeling of utter weakness, the feeling of being hit and shrunk to nothing . " But Orwell was a soldier, the protagonists of "Shot" are civilians. That is what makes the stories they tell so deadly sad. And sometimes very different from what you would expect.
"Don't do it! Don't shoot mom!"
Kate Ranta recounts how her four year old son pleaded, cried and begged his father, "Don't do it! Don't shoot mom!". Kaiba Young says she still loved the perpetrator after he shot her. Says Liz Hjelmseth: "I was eight years old on Halloween when my brother shot me in a fight for my cat. I went to the bathroom to die in the bathtub because I thought it would be easier for mine Mom to clean up there afterwards. He followed me, apologized and told me he wouldn't have wanted to. That was the last time words were exchanged between us about the shot. "
"It doesn't hurt to die, it hurts to live," concludes Philip Gouaux, another survivor. The book could easily have gotten voyeuristic - it's not. Because it doesn't stay superficial. Because Shorr is about depicting individuality. The book shows the scars and the stories of the scars. Every scar is different. Every story is different, and they all deserve to be seen and heard. "Shot" tells the stories without taking pleasure in the suffering of the survivors. It lets them speak for themselves. It is a declaration of love for their strength.
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