The United States homicide rate is rising at its fastest rate since the early 1970s. According to the statistics examined by the Economist, the murder rate grew 11 percent from 2014 to 2015. About 65 to 85 percent of all murders are a result of gun violence. This information supports the ongoing claim of this country having a serious gun problem. Photographer Kathy Shorr became passionate about the subject after a terrifying experience of her own.
“A number of years ago I was robbed; today they call it home invasion.” She told Fader in an interview. “Armed intruders came into my house and pointed a gun at me and my daughter, who had just started to walk. That feeling of helplessness – someone else controlling your destiny – is something you never want to experience again.”
Shorr had already been teaching photography and art classes at an inner city school in New York. She remembers seeing young kids coming into school with memorabilia of their loved ones who were killed due to senseless violence and began thinking about the victims who were fortunate to survive similar situations. This inspired Shorr to begin a two-year, self-funded journey of chronicling survivors of gun violence through her photography.
She documented a wide range of people across the United States between the ages of 8 to 80 years old from all walks of life, along with their own opinions on the gun rights issue. Each and every individual had a unique story that added to the overall narrative Shorr was trying to convey in her book, SHOT: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence.
“I felt that the country had become very polarized. Gun issues are clearly not black-and-white; there are many shades of grey. I thought that if I could do a project where the abstraction of gun violence was taken away — so it could become something human with faces — that people would be able to confront this issue more easily.”