PANAMA CITY BEACH: Before the Spill { 15 images } Created 27 Jul 2010


The images from this series were taken while visiting my in-laws in Panama City Beach, FL, before the worst oil spill in history devastated the Gulf of Mexico. Over the years, Panama City Beach has become a popular vacation and spring-break destination. The town's slogan is "The World's Most Beautiful Beaches" owing to its unique sugar-white sands.

My wife's grandfather, Leo Murphy, originally built his home on the beach in the early 1960's and lived there until his death in 2008.

When these photographs were taken, early in 2008, I was intent on capturing the mystery, charm and allure of the empty beach shrouded in a thick fog; far removed from the sunny, raucous and lively excesses the area was notorious for. But, I would never have imagined a disaster on the scale of the BP spill could occur and spoil these shores for years to come, empty it's beaches of revelers and ravage it's lush yet fragile wildlife.

After the catastrophic mishap, my wife revealed that she was glad that even though Grandpa Murphy had seen many natural disasters, he never saw the devastation and ruination sparked by such an appalling and heartbreaking incident.

Shots of the foggy beach were taken with a Holga. The grass swirls were taken with a Nikon F2. Both cameras were loaded with Kodak Tri-X film, which I scanned and processed using Photoshop as my darkroom. The 11x17 images are printed on 16x20 digital C-Print matte paper.
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