Malibu After: Bearing Witness

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“This snarling fire tornado was on its side. It was creepy, and that unnerved me a lot.” — Richard Reynolds

Half of the homes in the immediate neighborhood of longtime Malibu resident and professional photographer Eric Myer were lost to the Woolsey Fire.

After being evacuated for the two weeks after the fire, he arrived home for the first time with his wife, Barb, and his dog to a house that was still standing, but charred right up to the front doorstep. He was overwhelmed with a combination of grief and gratitude. 

“The house was dark and smoky, there was no power, running water or heat; [there was] rotting food in the refrigerator and dead squirrels and rabbits in the pool,” Myer wrote TMT.  

He soon realized that the destroyed homes of his friends and neighbors would be cleared before long, and he wanted to use his skills as a photographer to somehow help. He contacted a few friends that lost their homes to get their opinions on his idea for a photo essay. After receiving their support, he decided to pursue the concept. 

The idea was to put a face on this local human tragedy that ultimately highlights the issue of global warming and to, in his words, “bear witness” to the aftermath of the devastation. A total of 42 Malibu-area families and individuals allowed him into their lives at a very difficult time to be photographed in ultra-high resolution superlarge panoramic format, as they stood amid the rubble of their destroyed homes. He also photographed artifacts families had dug out of the ashes along with abstract fire remains. 

The subjects represent a broad cross-section of the community: young and old, celebrities and artisans, relative newcomers and longtime residents, blue- and white-collar and former houses that ranged from multi-million-dollar mansions to mobile homes.

All images are available as a limited edition, signed and numbered pigment ink prints on archival paper with a signed certificate of authenticity. Half of all proceeds will go to the nonprofit 350.org, an international climate movement standing up to the fossil fuel industry and promoting a clean energy future.

To contact Eric Myer, email info@ericmyer.com or call 310.589.5092  

To see all of the images, visit malibuafter.com. 

Families were also interviewed. Transcripts of interviews conducted by Myer’s neighbor, Jimy Tallal (who also wrote this story), can be found on the website by selecting the heading Chronicles and clicking on the image.