It started in late May as I began to pull images out of the ether.
My task was to illustrate extreme heat in Southern California and show how a community struggles to deal with this effect of climate change.
As my colleagues wrote, “Each year, extreme heat kills more Americans than any other climate-fueled danger, including hurricanes, floods and wildfires, but it gets far less attention because it kills so quietly.”
I tried to put a human confront on the issue. Among the images: A man in L.A.’s skid row bathes under a bucket of water; a woman sits in her trailer, a fan, wet towel and dog, her continued companions; a man mourns the loss of his friend who he suspects died from heat in his trailer; a son looks longingly at a construction hard hat belonging to his father who died after a day working under the sun; a child cools off in a laundry basket, and firefighters tend to a woman who struggles to breathe on a hot afternoon.
As with all assignments, a few surprises crossed my path. Literally, in the case of Roger Embrey. He seemed to appear out of the thin air walking along a dusty road in Desert Hot Springs wearing black slacks, vest, a crisp white shirt with a cup of coffee in his hand. He was on his way to a job interview. A surreal experience in the 107-degree heat.
And finally, I spent time with young men playing a game of basketball against the setting sun, with the potential of cooler temperatures on the horizon.