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Friday, December 14, 2012

Post-Sandy Seaside Heights, N.J., November 2012

Here's an unusual picture which is one of TIME magazine's pick of Top 10 Photos of 2012:

The picture was taken by TIME Photographer Stephen Wilkes which is entitled "Seaside Heights, N.J., November 2012" with the following narration: 
I’ve covered disasters in other parts of our country, but Sandy devastated my hometown, it was a storm of historical significance. How does one begin to comprehend the scale of this storm? The only way for me was to capture Sandy’s destructive fury from above. 
On the Sunday after Sandy made landfall, I rented a helicopter and flew over some of the most devastated areas—it was everything I’d heard about, yet it was difficult to believe what I was actually seeing. Once we were above the shoreline, the scale of the destruction quickly came into focus. The expanse of land it ruined, the totality of the devastation — it was like a giant mallet had swung in circles around the entire coast. I was particularly drawn to Casino Pier, and the Jet Star rollercoaster, where this photograph was taken. As I flew over the area, the ocean appeared dead calm; there were no waves, the water looked as if I was in the Caribbean, not the Atlantic. That contrast in itself was surreal to experience, and I was reminded of the iconic image in the film Planet of The Apes. Charlton Heston, riding horseback along a deserted shoreline, suddenly sees a charred structure rising out of the water, the torch of the Statue of Liberty. In a strange way this image shares a parallel universe, perhaps a warning from post-apocalyptic Earth.
On the first sight of this picture it appears just like any aerial photo of  a quiet beach area. It's hard to recognize immediately the devastation until after reading the narration.  Of course we can imagine the ferocity the beach experienced during Sandy, but what is really unusual is seeing the rollercoaster structure became part of the ocean that makes it downright terrifying.  The aftermath of Sandy is still fully going on for the people being victimized.  We can only remember them in our prayers. Here at the closing days of the year 2012, we just can not help to remind ourselves that no matter where, no matter how, or no matter what, disaster happenings can never be totally ignored or excluded.

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