Saturday, February 02, 2013
I shot this photo while on assignment for the Red Cross in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I was covering the aftermath of a massive hurricane that swept through the middle of town. The devastation was biblical, with a mile wide swath of town mowed down by winds so fierce they stripped the bark off trees and lifted houses off their foundations and moved them across the street! The man in the picture was collecting a few things from his house (in the background) when we met him.
The hardest part of an assignment like this is not the blocked roads, lack of electricity or gas, or wandering through piles of debris. For me, the hardest part is convincing yourself that your presence there is worthwhile. People need food, water, shelter and hugs—not some dude in their face with a camera!
But then I remind myself that the Red Cross uses my photos to raise money to help these people, fund the shelters, meals, and other services. So I approach them with respect, explain why I am there and ask permission to take some photos… and amazingly they almost always say yes.