Hearty congratulations are in order for former Houston Press staff photographer Daniel Kramer. His haunting snapshot "Bolivar After Ike" won the People's Choice award at last night's FotoFest opening night reception hosted by the Houston chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers.
I was there when Kramer got the shot and remember the moment well. We were zipping west under feeble winter sunlight on Highway 87 through the devastation of post-Ike Crystal Beach in Kramer's convertible Chrysler Sebring. Suddenly Kramer slammed on the brakes and eased over on to the shoulder.
American flags always catch his eye, and while there were more than a few strewn among the rubble of what had once been a thriving little beach community, none was so surreally placed as this one.
While I picked through the rubble of one of the hundreds of household trash piles that then littered the shoulder of Highway 87, Kramer took shot after shot of this beach house's remnants, and this one here would go on to grace the cover of our January 8, 2009 issue.
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As I recall, Kramer told me someone accused him of arranging the flag and the chair, but I can assure you that they were both captured as we found them. There were weird, almost darkly humorous tableaux like this all over Galveston and Chambers Counties at the time -- this was merely the absolute strangest one of all.
We loved it so much we also made it the star of the video Monica Fuentes, Kramer and I put together to accompany the story too.