Several years ago, photographer Kathy Shorr had a terrifying experience. She was at home with her toddler when her place was burglarized. “We had a gun pointed at us by two men who were dressed as postmen with a package,” Shorr says. Even though they weren’t physically harmed, the scene has been forever burned into her memory. That’s one reason she began a project called SHOT, on display at the Houston Center for Photography. Shorr spent more than two years traveling across the U.S. to photograph 101 gunshot survivors. But her aim is not to speak for or against owning guns. “It’s meant to show everyone how this is something that affects all Americans,” she says.
Houston-based Shelley Calton’s project, Concealed: She’s Got a Gun, hits closer to home. She spent more than four years taking pictures of Texas women who own guns. One is a sharply-dressed blonde from Spring, who is leaning against a car. Her neatly French-manicured fingers are wrapped around the handle of a pistol. “I think of it as part of Texas gun culture,” Calton says. “People aren’t expecting to see guns in the hands of women.”
The idea for the exhibition began about a year ago but the recent wave of gun violence – even right here in Houston this week – is adding resonance. “Whether you’re for guns or against them, they’re a really big part of the conversation right now,” says HCP Executive Director Ashlyn Davis. “They’re a huge part of the national political debate.”
Sight Lines: Looking at Guns is on view at the Houston Center for Photography through November 13th.