For New York Magazine’s final issue of 2017, the December 24, 2017, to January 7, 2018, issue, writer Mattathias Schwartz and photojournalist Matt Black tell the full story of the 100 days Puerto Rico has been without power — a sustained crisis that began with Hurricane Maria, will continue for months to come, and has led to a rising body count that could overtake Hurricane Katrina’s. Using San Juan as a base camp, Schwartz and Black visited the island repeatedly, exploring the rural, more inaccessible parts of the island.
From the beginning, Schwartz and Black were focused on exploring the accuracy of the suspiciously low official death count. When Black visited a morgue in Manatí, he made a picture that instantly captured the intensity of the project. “We settled on the cover image because it was the most to the point,” says New York Magazine photography director Jody Quon. “In the end, it was the clearest, and the most memorable.”