While researching Stanley Forman, the photographer I chose to present to the photography class I attend, I ran across some amazing shots he took while on his way home one night in 1986. Not only did I run across the photos, but an article that Stanley Forman wrote describing his accounts of photographing the Columbia Road rescue.
My research of various school projects through the years involved topics about writers, poets, artists, etc. who are deceased. When I began my research of Stanley Forman, I was pleased to see that he was still actually alive! And then I found that he has his own website and Facebook page! JACKPOT! Long gone are the days of having to go to the library to sift through big, heavy encyclopedias, manually sorting through journal after journal, and photocopying umpteen pages to take with you. (I think there are at least a few of my classmates who will appreciate this as I do.)
OK, back to Stanley Forman’s photographs of the Columbia Road rescue. The photographs struck me in a way I hadn’t expected. Once I reached the last photo, tears welled up in my eyes. I don’t know exactly why. I’ve never been in a house fire, or any fire for that matter. But to just see the woman being transported away from her house that was completely engulfed in flames — that just got to me. She had just been standing on the porch roof of her house with her boyfriend and baby! If it had not been for the swift thinking of the woman’s boyfriend, they most likely would have fallen through the roof.
Forman’s photographs of the horrific event are shown in black and white, and give great contrast of the blazing flames shooting up into the dark night sky. He was able to capture facial expressions of rescuers that added to the “story” in which he was recording, frame by frame.
Included with this blog are some of Stanley Forman’s photographs from the Columbia Road rescue. An article of his accounts, written by Stanley Forman, along with more photographs, can be found on his website at http://stanleyformanphotos.com/gallerycolumbia.html.
Author: Ginger Jensen