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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Katy DeZellar

On This Day

Friday, October 07 - 9:10AM to 9:30AM
Lindell Room A - Chase Park Plaza

On This Day is a series of photographs that depict locations of mass-shooting events. Capturing objective and surreal elements to create portraits of these sites that no longer show the visible signs of the violent events they once witnessed. In the months and years since these events occurred, the signs of distress are seemingly absent; bloodstains are cleaned, broken glass is replaced, and crime scene tape is taken down. The physical traces of the event ever happening are often erased, leaving only the latent memory.


With the use of strict criteria, DeZellar has narrowed down events that have happened after her birth, and she applies the same vetting process to current and any that may occur in the future. The criteria also exert control over an event that was uncontrollable to the victims at the time. By working with the space and available light at the various sites that she visits across the nation, she creates an initial composition without any modifications to the look of the location at the time. She does bring in an added physical element, however, that reflects the number of people who endured bodily harm. DeZellar’s photographs recall those affected in short moments of terror, even though the world at large has likely forgotten them.


While society at large may not remember many of these events, DeZellar’s intention is to memorialize those who were killed and injured, while raising awareness of an ongoing crisis that affects us all. In doing so, she hopes to prevent the numbness felt by many when faced with these horrific and seemingly endless killings.

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Katy DeZellar
Katy DeZellar

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