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, like Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen immediately reached out to the affected people of the storm and used their God given gifts of music to help raise money for The Red Cross so that those who have lost their homes, belongings, and have 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; and so many still need our help not just now, but in the coming months, too.
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, when 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 which exaggerates fantasy to make a point. However, this is no exaggeration; this is no movie; this is very real. I find it difficult to come up with words which 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 that I am privileged to collaborate with. 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 New Jersey before and after the storm photographing scenes to share with you. Gevon Servo of GServo’s Photography went into Newark and South Orange, New Jersey taking pictures of what Sandy left in her path of ruin. Khürt Williams captured scenes in Rocky Hill and Princeton New Jersey to bring you photos of localized shattering 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; so we should still do whatever we can.
Right now, there are two organizations leading efforts to distribute supplies and rebuild New Jersey that I know of: Restore the Shore and Operation Restore Our Shore. These are good starting points for finding localized areas accepting and distributing donations.