Kathy Shorr: SHOT: Survivors of Gun Violence in America

0 Flares 0 Flares ×



During the Fort Hood shootings Dayna was wounded by a crazed psychiatrist who killed 14 people and injured 32 in the massacre. An Army sergeant and Purple Heart recipient, she was shot three times when the gunman found her crouched behind a table. Fort Hood, Texas, 2009. © Kathy Shorr. Courtesy of the artist. 


I want people to see what it is like to be shot and to understand that it can happen to any of us, anywhere. — Kathy Shorr  



Read More . . .

We can’t talk about guns in America—not very easily. Not without shouting, slamming doors, walking out on each other, and unraveling our relationships.

But it does not mean we should give up. What then is the way forward?

Kathy Shorr, in her photographic series, SHOT, shows us a way. In a project that spanned more than two years, Shorr photographed a panoply of survivors of gun violence that span class, race, geographic, and gender boundaries. The 101 subjects in the series are people like you and me. They are not different. They are not other. And that is the power of this work.

Despite the tendency for the topic of gun violence to polarize us, Shorr’s work does not blame. Her images instead invite viewers to create an understanding of gun violence as a palpable, physical event, not an abstract thought.

Shorr says, “I want people to see what it is like to be shot and to understand that it can happen to any of us, anywhere.”

Shorr’s subjects agreed to be photographed in the same location in which they were shot—in the Walmart parking lot, in their own homes, in their cars, walking through Times Square. I asked her if her subjects were re-traumatized by returning to this place. Shorr said in fact it was often cathartic and empowering to return to the site of the event.


Early one evening  Sahar was strolling through Times Square with her cousin when she was hit. A police officer was pursuing someone else when he fired. Manhattan, New York, 2013. © Kathy Shorr. Courtesy of the artist. 


Shorr, a New Yorker born in Brooklyn and now living in Manhattan, knows intimately the impact of gun violence. During a home invasion years ago, robbers pointed a gun at her and her daughter. Though they were unharmed in the robbery, Shorr says “I knew what it felt like to have someone have the power to control your destiny and possibly the destiny of someone you loved. The emotional impact of a gun pointed at you is a feeling that stays with you.”

The SHOT project itself evolved from a sense that although the news media focus on deaths, there was little attention to those who survived shootings. Shorr wanted to shine a light on them and to share with others what these survivors had to say about their experiences.

Some of Shorr’s subjects are survivors of domestic violence, others responsible gun owners themselves. Their portraits demonstrate that no racial/ethnic group, no part of the country, no age group is spared.

Shorr spent many days doing research to identify possible subjects. She read newspapers, looking for survivor names, then went to the Whitepages to find them. And she contacted domestic violence organizations for leads. Shorr funded the entire two-year project herself. As her work continued and became more public, people began to call to ask her if they could be part of it. She began her project in 2013, and when completed in 2015, it included people from 45 cities across the United States.


Ambushed by her ex-husband, Shirley was shot as she got her daughters from nursery school. Her ex-husband used two guns and struck her 14 times. The former military man was released on $25,000 bail. Indianapolis, Indiana, 2014. © Kathy Shorr. Courtesy of the artist. 


In a culture where images of guns are normalized, do images of gunshot wounds themselves move us? What are the feelings that Shorr’s images evoke in us? What should we do with them?

Despite the pervasiveness of guns in our culture, many of us have not seen the aftermath, the actual wound. That includes me.

My first reaction, when looking at some of Shorr’s images, is shock at the bodily damage a gunshot can do. I had imagined a simple hole where the bullet entered or exited, scarred over and easy to hide.

But as Shorr reveals through these images, gunshot wounds are also our biography, worn on the body, with physical markings that reflect the intensity of the psychological trauma.The consequences are pervasive, deep, and long-lasting. People experience anger and dissociation, anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Beyond that, children who witness such violence, their families, and indeed entire communities experience the emotionally debilitating effects of these events. Increased gun sales can arise from a sense of insecurity, and children may find their outdoor play and socialization reduced as parents keep them inside and out of the way of gun violence.

Women carry the major burden of emotional healing and repair for the family, and so the after-effects of gun violence weigh especially heavy on them.

In other images, Shorr invites us to gaze into the eyes of the survivor—and in these, we are drawn into their humanity. Like Ondelee, shot in the face as a 14-year old, by another boy who had an argument with him at a house party. Ondelee’s mom had to quit her job to care for him after the shooting. It’s a stunning reminder of how the entire family suffers when a loved one has been shot.

As a mother myself, I look into Ondelee’s eyes, and I see my son. I wonder who the viewer sees. Do you feel his mother by his side?





After stating that he planned to kill her, Marlys was shot through the heart by her husband of 41 years. Canoga Park, California, 1999. © Kathy Shorr. Courtesy of the artist. 


Human connection is the first and perhaps most important touchstone by which we weave our lives together. And yet, I am someone who believes in the persuasiveness of hard data. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 15,070 people in the U.S. died by gunshot wounds in 2016 and another 30,622 people were injured. Already in 2017, 3,765 deaths from guns have occurred and another 7,185 people have been injured.

In Vermont, where I live, firearms cause 60% of domestic violence deaths. Women suffering domestic violence are eight times more likely to be killed if there is a firearm in the home. And although gun-related domestic violence isn’t always fatal, assaults committed with guns are twelve times more likely to kill their victims than those involving other weapons or bodily force.

In other words, guns intensify intimate partner violence.

I am not so sure the rest of the world is as moved to action by data as I am, though. Then, I am, reminded when I look at Shorr’s photos of the words of Anthony Kwame Appiah, who, in his book Cosmopolitanism, asks: “What do we owe strangers by virtue of our shared humanity?” Shorr’s work is a magnet that pulls us toward that feeling of a shared humanity.


For her 101st image in this series, Shorr introduced us to Karissa, a 22-year-old Native American young woman. As she ran toward her house, Karissa was shot three times in the back by her abusive boyfriend. He killed three people during the shooting spree, including her best friend. The boyfriend then turned the gun on himself. Sisseton, South Dakota, 2014. © Kathy Shorr. Courtesy of the artist. 


Shorr states that in a domestic violence shooting, the shooter always aims to kill, firing head or torso shots. Two of the 101 people Shorr has photographed had never experienced an incident of violent behavior by their boyfriend or husband before being shot.

There was. No warning. Signal. They just. Snapped.

The images are painful reminders of the dark side of humanity. “On the other side,” says Shorr, “we live with so many courageous, inspiring people. I met 101 people who are real heroes. They went through tragedies that are hard to understand how anybody could go through. They are better people on the other side. They have moved on, and many have forgiven the people who shot them.”

I know that Shorr wanted us to focus on the survivors of gun violence in her series. I want to go further. I want to remind us of the loss we experience as well. Underneath gun violence, domestic or otherwise, is conflict. On this, poet, theologian, and mediator Pádraig Ó Tuama wrote in his poem “The Pedagogy of Conflict”:

When I was a child,
I learnt to count to five:
one, two, three, four, five.
But these days, I’ve been counting lives, so I count
one life
one life
one life
one life
Because each time is the first time that that life has been taken.


A shotgun blasted from point-blank range wounded Laura in the stomach. It was fired by her soon-to-be ex-husband, a former Marine and police officer. He then threatened to kill himself, but could not pull the trigger. His wife lay on the floor and begged him to call 911 for a half hour. When help finally arrived, she had started to bleed out and was given a 1% chance of survival. Houston, Texas, 2009. © Kathy Shorr. Courtesy of the artist. 

Editor’s Note: Kathy Shorr’s book SHOT: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America was released on April 4, 2017, published by powerHouse Books.




Stephanie Seguino is an artist and economist. She is currently Professor of Economics at the University of Vermont where her teaching focuses on inequality, with an emphasis on gender and racial inequality. In her creative work, Seguino’s medium is photography. Earlier work included a body of photographs using a Diana camera. More recently, Seguino has explored stereotypes of black men as well as of veiled women in her photography. She lives in Vermont, USA.





OF NOTE Magazine is free to readers, free of advertising, and free of subscriptions—all made possible by generous supporters like you. Your tax-deductible gift will help us continue to feature innovative and emerging global artists using the arts as tools for social change.
OF NOTE Magazine is a fiscally sponsored organization of the New York Foundation for the Arts, a 501 (c) (3), tax-exempt organization. All donations are 100% tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 0 Flares ×


1,258 Responses to “Kathy Shorr: SHOT: Survivors of Gun Violence in America
  1. I wanted to post you that very small remark to be able to say thanks a lot again about the spectacular basics you have provided on this website. It has been really open-handed of people like you to deliver extensively just what many people might have sold as an e book to end up making some profit for themselves, primarily since you could possibly have tried it in case you considered necessary. Those tips likewise acted to be a great way to be certain that most people have a similar keenness just like my very own to learn somewhat more with reference to this condition. I am certain there are a lot more pleasurable situations up front for individuals that see your site.

  2. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100 positive. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  3. It is really a great and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. puma product says:

    I want to express thanks to you for bailing me out of this type of condition. After looking throughout the search engines and meeting solutions which were not productive, I thought my life was gone. Existing devoid of the strategies to the difficulties you have solved all through your good write-up is a critical case, as well as the kind that could have badly affected my entire career if I hadn’t encountered your website. Your training and kindness in taking care of every aspect was important. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come upon such a step like this. I’m able to at this time relish my future. Thanks a lot so much for the high quality and amazing help. I will not think twice to suggest your web blog to any person who needs and wants tips on this matter.

  5. I want to show some appreciation to this writer just for rescuing me from this type of issue. After looking out through the the net and meeting thoughts which were not pleasant, I figured my entire life was over. Being alive devoid of the approaches to the difficulties you have fixed by way of your entire posting is a crucial case, and those which could have negatively damaged my entire career if I had not discovered your website. Your main capability and kindness in controlling all the stuff was useful. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come across such a thing like this. I can at this point relish my future. Thanks for your time so much for this professional and results-oriented guide. I will not hesitate to suggest your web blog to anybody who ought to have care on this problem.

  6. yeezy shoes says:

    I have to express my thanks to the writer just for rescuing me from this particular situation. As a result of researching throughout the the web and coming across thoughts which are not powerful, I was thinking my life was well over. Living without the approaches to the problems you’ve solved through the post is a crucial case, and the ones that would have in a negative way affected my career if I hadn’t discovered your web page. Your personal understanding and kindness in dealing with all areas was invaluable. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not encountered such a subject like this. I’m able to at this point look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot so much for your specialized and result oriented help. I won’t be reluctant to endorse your web page to anybody who desires care about this matter.

  7. Some truly excellent blog posts on this web site, appreciate it for contribution.

  8. Thanks for all your effort on this site. Debby really loves setting aside time for investigations and it’s really easy to understand why. All of us notice all about the dynamic means you convey very helpful guidance by means of this web blog and even cause response from some other people on that theme plus my simple princess is without a doubt becoming educated a lot of things. Have fun with the rest of the year. You have been conducting a really good job.

  9. i loved this says:

    Great – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task.

  10. Google says:

    Here are some links to websites that we link to for the reason that we consider they may be worth visiting.

  11. Every as soon as inside a whilst we choose blogs that we study. Listed below are the newest sites that we pick out

  12. The info mentioned inside the write-up are some of the best offered

  13. nike air max says:

    Thank you so much for providing individuals with a very wonderful chance to read critical reviews from this site. It is usually so fantastic and as well , full of fun for me and my office acquaintances to search your blog particularly thrice a week to find out the newest issues you have got. Not to mention, I’m so actually astounded with the gorgeous creative ideas served by you. Certain 3 points in this article are in fact the most beneficial I’ve had.

  14. Here are a number of the web pages we advocate for our visitors

  15. I definitely wanted to develop a simple note to appreciate you for all of the pleasant facts you are placing on this site. My extended internet lookup has at the end been recognized with good facts to talk about with my friends and family. I ‘d repeat that many of us website visitors are unequivocally blessed to live in a fabulous network with many brilliant individuals with insightful strategies. I feel really blessed to have encountered the weblog and look forward to tons of more exciting times reading here. Thanks again for everything.

  16. I needed to write you a little bit of note to thank you very much once again relating to the gorgeous information you’ve shown here. It was simply remarkably open-handed with people like you giving unreservedly exactly what most of us would’ve advertised as an e-book to help make some money on their own, primarily now that you might well have tried it if you ever decided. The ideas in addition acted like the fantastic way to realize that some people have the same dreams similar to my own to find out a little more when considering this problem. Certainly there are many more pleasant opportunities in the future for people who view your site.

  17. The following time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I do know it was my option to read, however I truly thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you may fix should you werent too busy in search of attention.

  18. Its like you learn my thoughts! You appear to understand a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you just can do with some to power the message house a little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  19. magnificent publish, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector don’t realize this. You should continue your writing. I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  20. I am so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  21. I simply wanted to write down a simple message in order to say thanks to you for some of the pleasant instructions you are writing at this website. My rather long internet look up has at the end been compensated with pleasant content to share with my family. I would admit that most of us site visitors actually are quite blessed to be in a really good network with so many outstanding individuals with helpful guidelines. I feel rather lucky to have used your entire web site and look forward to so many more brilliant moments reading here. Thanks a lot again for all the details.

  22. curry shoes says:

    Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an exceptionally marvellous possiblity to read critical reviews from this site. It is usually very nice and also full of fun for me personally and my office mates to search your site not less than 3 times a week to learn the newest stuff you will have. And lastly, I am also actually fascinated with all the mind-blowing tricks you give. Selected 2 areas in this post are completely the most impressive we’ve ever had.

  23. Valuable info. Fortunate me I discovered your website unintentionally, and I am shocked why this accident did not took place earlier! I bookmarked it.

  24. design says:

    Keep working ,fantastic job!

  25. It’s onerous to find knowledgeable folks on this topic, however you sound like you understand what you’re talking about! Thanks

  26. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website. I am hoping the same high-grade web site post from you in the upcoming as well. Actually your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own website now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a great example of it.

  27. I have to convey my admiration for your kindness supporting people that have the need for assistance with this one concern. Your personal commitment to passing the message along came to be particularly useful and has enabled folks much like me to reach their objectives. Your interesting instruction can mean a whole lot to me and far more to my mates. Best wishes; from everyone of us.

  28. I precisely desired to thank you so much yet again. I’m not certain the things that I would’ve accomplished in the absence of these recommendations documented by you about my area. It became a real daunting concern for me personally, but spending time with the specialised strategy you processed the issue forced me to jump over contentment. I’m happy for this guidance and even sincerely hope you find out what an amazing job you are always providing instructing others through the use of your webblog. Most likely you have never got to know all of us.

  29. I like this post, enjoyed this one thanks for putting up.

  30. always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I like but really don’t get quite a bit of link like from

  31. katmovieshd says:

    The information and facts mentioned in the write-up are some of the best accessible

  32. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  33. I precisely desired to thank you very much again. I do not know the things I would’ve undertaken in the absence of the strategies discussed by you about my topic. Completely was a frightening scenario in my opinion, but finding out your specialized manner you solved that took me to leap over delight. I’m just grateful for the information as well as have high hopes you realize what an amazing job you are always putting in teaching many people all through a blog. I am sure you haven’t got to know all of us.

  34. Well I sincerely liked studying it. This tip offered by you is very practical for correct planning.

  35. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.


0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 0 Flares ×