I don’t do helpless well. As someone who is trying to replace the recent images of devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in her brain with fond memories of the Jersey shore, warm fireplaces and the comforts of home, I think about what I can do to help those who are less fortunate than I am at times like this.
When I am dealt a hard hand, I tap into my talents and try to use my powers for good. As a writer, I feel my role is to communicate.
A photographer uses images to express what words cannot. Other artists, such as Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen immediately reached out to the affected people of the storm and used their gifts of music to help raise money for the Red Cross so that those who have lost their homes andbelongings and had their spirits broken can bounce back from the devastation and destruction Hurricane Sandy left behind.
We may not be able to haul lumber, drive dump trucks or route power to people who desperately need these services, but what these photographers have done here is deliver images of what they saw in the aftermath, so those who are far can get a sense of what people in New Jersey have seen.
Perhaps, even one photo will affect someone, so they offer up sympathy and do whatever they can to help those who have lost so much in the storm get back on their feet.
Right now, sharing information is so important so people know where to donate money or items people need. Equally important is capturing photos of what went on over the past week, so we don’t easily forget that there are still thousands right now without power and heat. There are thousands without homes to return to, so many still need our help not just now, but in the coming months as well.
As Americans we have short memories. As soon as life returns to normal for us personally or if life has been normal all along because we were not in the path of the storm, it’s easy to start going about our days and put the past in its place, whereas it still remains the present for many.
When I see photos of the preparation for Superstorm Sandy and the destruction that followed, everything still seems so surreal to me. It’s like viewing scenes from a blockbuster movie that exaggerates fantasy to make a point. However, this is no exaggeration. This is no movie. I find it difficult to come up with words to adequately describe what happened here.
While the focus of relief efforts are now on the Jersey Shore, here is a glimpse of what has transpired throughout some of the state. These photos are brought to you by three amazing photographers with whom I am privileged to collaborate.
They went out before and after the storm and have documented a story here, capturing how the devastation is not just on the coastline, but inland as well. They thought about how they could use their talents to document the efforts of those willing to help in a time of need and the unfortunate damage that the storm would undoubtedly leave in its aftermath.
Daryl Meek, of Digital Artscape Photography & Graphics, went throughout Hillsborough, Manville, Skillman, Montgomery and Princeton before and after the storm photographing scenes to share with you.
Gevon Servo, of GServo’s Photography, went into Newark and South Orangeto take pictures of what Sandy left in her path of ruin.
Khürt Williams captured scenes in Rocky Hill and Princeton to bring you photos of localized scenes. These three men have used their skills and passions to remind all of us that we can try to push these terrible images out of our minds, but they remain realities for others.
Right now, there are two organizations leading efforts to distribute supplies and rebuild New Jersey: Restore the Shore and Operation Restore Our Shore. These are good starting points for finding localized areas accepting and distributing donations.