Like the post-Katrina streets of New Orleans, the refrigerator has become a ubiquitous symbol within the larger crisis.
One of the ways we remember an economic crisis is through images. Think of the Great Depression, told through the black-and-white portraits of men in bread lines, or wearing placards that beg for work; of a Wall Street suit hocking his car to pay for food; of Hoovervilles.
We remember the oil crisis of the 1970s—technically two crises—not through dry statistics but through scenes of cars and trucks, and sometimes people, stuck in a line that snakes off a gas station’s lot and down the street, choking a city block. And with each sharp drop in the Dow, there’s the ubiquitous portrait of a stockbroker guffawing at the ticker, his hands half-covering his face in disbelief.
“No war was ever photographed the way Vietnam was, and no war will ever be photographed again the way Vietnam was photographed,” he says. There was no censorship. All a photographer had to do, says Buell, “is convince a helicopter pilot to let him get on board a chopper going out to a battle scene. So photographers had incredible access, which you don’t get anymore.”