• Photography (BFA)

    Kari Bjorn


    Maria is a multi-issue photography zine project that focuses on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The storm hit on September 20, 2017, and left a trail of destruction. Maria decimated most of the electrical infrastructure on Puerto Rico and caused a blackout for months. Almost half of the island's population were left without access to drinking water, and hospitals stopped being operational. Landfill sites were over or at capacity, and mountains of debris filled open sites for months. In addition to bringing massive destruction, the storm highlighted Puerto Rico's position within the United States. Almost half of Americans either don't know that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens or are unsure of their nationality. Washington responded slowly to the crisis and often contradicted the Puerto Rican government in official statements. For the most part, power has been restored in Puerto Rico. But the grid flickers like a broken fluorescent bulb. Every time a pole or line fails, power goes out for hundreds of thousands of people. Despite the government's sluggish attempts, many communities worked together to rebuild what they could. Families, friends, and neighbors help each other out with roof repairs, and local construction companies clean up debris on outdoor athletic fields. Life goes on, and this is the calamitous new norm.