Paradise’s Charred Remains

A Photographer and a Writer Document Five Generations of Family Mementos After the 2019 Camp Fire

On November 8, 2018, endless images streamed from the Camp Fire in my hometown of Paradise, California. A single day generated thousands of pictures that filled the world with a new vision of calamity. One-sentence captions ran under photos of engulfed schools, destroyed businesses, and miles of scorched cars scattered across ruined roadways—waiting their turns to never get out.

This is how grief reads. Tightly packed, difficult descriptions giving way to emptiness.

The first image of Paradise that I saw that morning was a photo that was posted on a website. Taken …