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The Living Faces of Gun Violence

Between 2013 and 2015, Kathy Shorr photographed people in the U.S. who survived being shot by a gun. Her book Shot: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America, published today by powerHouse, collects portraits she made of a wide cross section of society—her subjects, who range in age from 8 to 80, include, she writes, an “Army sergeant, blues singer, bank vice president, councilman, Episcopal bishop, bus driver, police office, ex-prostitute, community activist [and] psychologist,” among others. Most she photographed in the location where they were attacked—at home, at work, in their cars and on unremarkable streets. The injuries of many are invisible, hidden from strangers by their clothes, but others can’t avoid showing the marks of violence—they are seated in wheel chairs or hold a prosthetic limb. Men pull up their shirts to show ropey, snaking scars; a woman, disrobed, reveals a colostomy bag; another opens her mouth to show the part of her jaw she lost when her husband shot her in the face. Shot also collects the voices of the victims, who recall the shock, fear and pain of an experience that many don’t live to describe.

Shorr writes that she hopes the project will humanize the dialogue about gun violence in America and address the complexities of ending it. Describing a gun owner who was also an advocate for better gun laws, she writes, “Speaking with him helped me to realize that bringing about that change required men and women to come together in support of sensible gun laws that do not infringe upon the rights of responsible individuals to own a gun.” Her project, she writes, “is not meant to be polarizing but rather to connect us to each other and how much we have in common, giving us the opportunity to begin to take an unbiased look at guns in American society.” To do that, “we need to find ways the dialog on gun safety can lead to a constructive resolution.”

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Picture Story: Life After Murder (for PDN subscribers; login required)

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  1. Your stories are compelling motivation to address anger issues, mental health, and civility as all your examples show damage done by people using wepons at hand vs cars, knives, bats, etc. It’s NOT about the gun. Just sayin’ . Been carrying for 7 years, never used my gun, hope to never use it, and IT hasn’t injured anyone on it’s own. Lets be practical vs political. Great photo essay on the victims, lets blame the people who injured them.

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