Chandra McCormick is a documentary photographer who chronicles the sociocultural aspects of human life. Born in New Orleans in 1957, her career background includes photography, activism, and history, which has given her a unique capability to focus on a range of subjects not commonly covered by other documentary photographers.
McCormick is renowned for capturing many different aspects of New Orleans culture, as well as the lifestyles of her fellow New Orleanians. In addition to documenting the city's social and cultural history, McCormick has studied and documented religious ceremonies of the Spiritual Churches, which have rarely been captured. She has also focused on African American laborers, such as sugarcane scrappers and sweet potato workers of rural Louisiana. She has produced an extensive body of work on Angola Prison, focusing on its incarcerated men and the impact of the prison system on their families; the work was featured in Aperture in February 2006.
Her work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Aperture, The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times, and Albuquerque Tribune. Her photographs have been included in exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, Brooklyn Museum, Philadelphia African American Museum, Civil Rights Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, the Peace Museum, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York University, and Aperture Gallery.
McCormick and creative partner and husband Keith Calhoun (also a Katrina Media Fellow) lost two-thirds of their photographic archives when their home and studio were ravaged by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. They have relocated to Spring, Texas, but are in the process of rebuilding their New Orleans home and photography studio in the Lower Ninth Ward.