Does loss have its own geography?—Rebecca Norris Webb from the book and Dahl exhibition, My Dakota
June is the 40th anniversary of the Rapid City Flood, the fifth-worst flood in the nation’s history. We’d like to use this anniversary as an opportunity to explore through photography the notion of loss and landscape.
There are many ways to handle this assignment. For those who had direct experience of the flood, they may want to take photographs that reflect in some way the memory of their experiences. For instance, you may want to use a photograph from the flood (you’ll find some of these photographs in the May/June 2012 issue of South Dakota Magazine as well as probably in the Rapid City Journal in June), and go back to the location in the photograph and photograph today (if you do this, you have the option of also including a scan or photograph of the historical photograph as well).
For those who were born after the flood –– or weren’t living in Rapid at the time –– they can choose an alternative memory of loss to explore through photography: for instance, the loss of a family member or friend, the loss of a home, the loss of a job, the loss of an animal with which they had a special bond.
POEM/BOOKS AS INSPIRATION FOR THE ASSIGNMENT:
––South Dakota Magazine, May-June 2012 issue, with essays about the Rapid City flood and “My Dakota.”
––My Dakota: An Elegy for My Brother Who Died Unexpectedly (Radius Books, June 2012) text and photographs by Rebecca Norris Webb
––The below, an excerpt from the poem, “Traveling,” by Malena Morling
Like streetlights still lit past dawn, the dead stare at us from the framed photographs.