The 34th annual Miami Book Fair officially kicked off on Sunday with the help of a photo exhibition focused on a specific part of the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew.
Adjacent to the main stage hangs a series of six photographs mounted on light gray canvases. Each photograph contains brightly colored images of planes and hangars that fell to the destructive power of the August 1992 storm.
Miami-based photographer Barry Fellman created “Hurricane,” a photo book about storm centered on the Kendall-Tamiami airport. The book also includes two essays, one from a New York Times art critic and the other from meteorologist Bryan Norcross, whose on-air demeanor and calm professionalism was credited with saving lives during Andrew.
“[It’s an] opportunity for the readers to have the experience I had when I walked from plane to plane,” Fellman said.
When Hurricane Andrew hit Miami in 1992, he lived closed to Country Walk, a residential area that was flattened by the storm. Fellman said that he remembered the pictures he had taken of the aftermath at the airport on the 20th anniversary of the hurricane.
“So I found them,” he said.
The photographs were taken with a 4×5 camera and color transparency film capturing the vibrancy of the scene, he said.
According to Fellman, reproducing the color accurate pictures into a book was not an easy task. He had to individually tweak the colors of each photograph on Photoshop, then print each proof and repeat the process several times until the colors were perfect.
“I wanted it to be as accurate as in real life,” he said. “To show the beauty in chaos and destruction.”
In the book, NYT art critic Vicki Goldberg wrote that the tangled images of the airplanes almost served as a rebuke.
“You thought you owned the sky,” she wrote. “You were wrong. The air, the sky, belong to me.”
But, she said, those terrifying images could be considered beautiful.
Norcross , formerly the chief meteorologist for WTVJ-NBC, wrote in the book about his experiences before, during and after Hurricane Andrew. He currently works for the Weather Channel.
“I wrote what I remember of the storm,” Norcross said in a phone interview.
He said he was happy to be involved in the book because it showed the “power of the storm in a different way.”
Luis Celeiro, a Hurricane Andrew survivor and exhibition attendee, said that seeing Fellman’s photographs made him think of his mom and the apartment building she had lived after the hurricane passed through.
“I see it and I suffer,” Celeiro said in Spanish.
The “Hurricane” exhibition will be open from Nov. 12 to 19 at the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus. In addition, Fellman and Norcross will speak about the book and Hurricane Andrew on Nov. 18 at 10:30 a.m.
“The story is my experience of being there in this unreal landscape,” said Fellman.