BIG CREEK, Miss. (WCBI) – Last Sunday, the town of Big Creek was devastated after an early morning fire tore through Main Street.
Several historic buildings were destroyed in the blaze.
After the smoke cleared, images of the fire surfaced that captured the attention of many Calhoun County residents.
“My photography tells the stories of people,” said photographer Renee Wofford.
Wofford calls herself a documentary family photographer because she has a very unique shooting style.
“I basically photograph families while they’re going about normal daily life, or if they have a particular activity that they really enjoy,” said Wofford.
This unique style caught the attention of the Sabougla Fire Department.
“Yeah, and so kind of just through that, I ended up getting connected to Jess Moore, who’s the chief of the fire department there. And he, I think, approached me one day and asked if I could, you know, do a little bit of photography for the Department for different things that they had going on, said he would really love to have images that told the story of the firefighters,” said Wofford.
On Sunday, September 29th, Wofford got the chance to tell that story.
However, balancing art and real-world tragedy, proved to be a difficult challenge.
“Awful. It’s, it’s painful. Because I think, especially with this place, Paisley’s. I think everybody who was on the scene has some sort of connection to Paisley’s…So we’ve all got like memories associated with these places. And it’s, it’s honestly hard, and you really just kind of have to let yourself absorbed into the camera and just focus on the technical aspect of what’s happening, and then process the emotions later on,” said Wofford.
Wofford said she pushes those emotions aside for the sake of the brave of men and women who risk their lives daily.
She said it’s important that their story is shared with the community.
“What I’m trying to tell is, how it is to show how hard the firefighters are working and what they’re doing to save, you know, whatever they can… that’s the whole goal of documentary photography as a whole is to just tell the story and tell it is as honestly and respectfully and kindly as you possibly can,” said Wofford.
Wofford said she picked up photography just three years ago.
Her photos of the Big Creek fire have racked up hundreds of shares on social media.