Photographing “Scorched Souls”
The Thomas Fire devastated communities in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, CA. We each found different ways to cope with the disaster and, as artists often do, created individual works that expressed their feelings about the tragedy.
The Ojai Studio Artists gathered together to mount an exhibition at the Ojai Valley Museum titled Scorched Souls. It showcased the diverse responses of accomplished artists to the fire that attacked their community.
I overheard an Ojai Studio Artist member comment that the exhibition was a thank you to the “First Responders” by the “Art Responders.” I was privileged to photograph the exhibition and make the images available to the participating artists.
This exhibition appealed to my cultural preservation passion – it was an important visual arts response to a significant event in the history of the area.
It is important to photographically document museum exhibitions, as they are usually only a temporary collection of artworks that will scatter back to the artists and collectors after the exhibition concludes. The photographs become the only record of this heartfelt creative response to a community tragedy.
My wife and I also wish to thank the firefighters involved with the Thomas Fire. They courageously saved our own neighborhood as the flames destroyed everything in its path right up to and surrounding less than an eighth of a mile of our home.
My photos of the exhibition are available to all participating Ojai Studio ArtistsThomas Fire Thank You on Facebook
W. Scott Miles
Cultural Heritage and Scientific Media Producer, eLearning Designer