There are few more important conversations to be having right now than that of gun laws. The continuation of America’s second amendment and an American citizen’s right to bear arms has been heavily scrutinised as mass murders begin to outweigh the number of days in the year, and a recent string of incidents where black men have been murdered instead of arrested continue to be all-too-frequent news headlines.
Brooklyn-born photographer Kathy Shorr has taken to her lens as a means to add to the dialogue of gun laws in her home country through her new project, SHOT. “Gun violence was something that seemed to be happening with more frequency and I wondered about those who had survived shootings. We always heard about those who died but never about what happened to those who lived,” she explains to us over email. “It seemed as if they were to just pick up the physical and emotional pieces and just go on with their lives. I felt it would be important to show them and to hear what they had to say.”
With this in mind, Shorr set about on a country-wide mission to photograph and interview 101 victims of gun violence – from children, women, men, a Native American, black people, white people, police, police victims and even NRA members from the ages of 8 to 80 and from low to high profile shootings.
“I myself have had a gun pointed at me and my young daughter in a home invasion years before and knew what it felt like to have someone have the power to control your destiny and possibly the destiny of someone you loved," she reveals. Given the divisiveness of the subject, Shorr is quick to clarify that this project is by no means meant to be an answer to a very complicated conversation – something she refers to as “not a black and white image” and “filled with grey areas”. She continues, "SHOT is not meant to be divisive; many gun owners and an NRA member are featured in the project."
Entirely funded by herself over two-and-a-half years – and over 100,000 miles – Shorr has inked a deal with powerHouse Books but needs to crowdfund the remaining costs of the project in order to get her story, and the survivors she has met, out into the world.
Follow Ashleigh Kane on Twitter here @ashleighkane