Moore, Oklahoma for the Wall Street Journal (Pt. 2)

TORNADOThese are the moments, scenes and bits of ephemera that was life in Moore for a few days in May- but these pictures insisted on being in color.  Tornadoes have a way of painting landscapes in strangely oppressive earth tones, but there were flashes of unbelievable and surprising color.

Black and white is practically visual shorthand for “this is serious,” and to remove color from a photograph is often done to remove that element which might distract from the all-important content.  In these pictures the Midwest widescreen technicolor life of the residents of Moore refused to be subdued.

TORNADOThe neighbors knew she had a beloved doll collection, so they piled up what they could find for when she returned.


TORNADOThis had been a daycare.

TORNADOI agreed with the boy that this had been a very cool car.


TORNADOThere had been a gas station and a liquor store here.  Not sure which one sold roses.



TORNADOThis hat felt very defiant.

TORNADOMost of this pantry looked entirely salvageable.

TORNADODescribing to me how big his cat’s eyes were when he found it under the bed.

TORNADOStanding on the rear wall of the house.


TORNADOThe sunset on my first night in Moore hurt my heart for its beauty. I began to comprehend why people might choose to live here.  I drove by a lot of new housing in Moore and a number of signs declaring fields to be the future locations of even newer neighborhoods with even more houses.  I wondered if the real estate market would take a real hit after yet another tornado, but I wasn’t so sure it would.