The images have become too familiar.
With Katrina, it was the sight of thousands of our fellow citizens drifting down interstates suddenly become dead ends, or crying out for rescue, or simply gone into the stupor of dehydration and heat.
Now we see Rita, repeating the images of flood and destruction. There is less hopelessness, more property destruction.
Recurrent in these and every other hurricane: images of our commercial culture torn apart, with McDonald's arches overthrown and Exxon gasoline signs in tatters. Also the sailboats. The camera always finds more pathos in a sailboat cast onto land than the equivalent motorcraft. The sailboat has more of life to it - like a racehorse, it once was sensitive and powerful and willful. To see a sailboat, keel bared and masts in the dirt, is to have a sense of something powerful and beautiful brought to a helpless state.
The eye of the photographer seeks such images, ones that encapsulate an entire event in one moment. But because the images are powerful, they are often controversial as well.
Two events at North Carolina A&T next month will look at the power of the new media and the pervasiveness of image.
"Images of Katrine: Media and Politics," will be presented by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication as part of the College of Arts & Sciences Colloquium Series. The panel discussion and town hall meeting will be 3 p.m. Oct. 4 in the New Classroom Building Auditorium.
Later that week, the ConvergeSouth conference will bring together bloggers from across the nation, academics and local folks, a creative class of all kinds.
The Oct. 7-8 event is the fourth such at least partially academic approach to the new media, blogging and citizen journalism, and the first in the South.