My parents live in Manasquan N.J. A small town near Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights and Belmar. These places were significantly impacted by Hurricane Sandy. My parents have lived there for 13 years. Before that my Great Aunt Terri and Uncle Joe lived there for over 25 years where they raised their family. I currently live in New York City but I have spent and do spend a lot of time in Manasquan and have a strong connection to the area. I grew up in Hazlet N. J., the first town you go through to get to beaches like Sandy Hook and Seabright. I had friends that I grew up with that live in Union Beach. All these places have been significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Before the storm we helped my parents pack up there belongings and prepare the house as best as we could. The storm came and most people left, a few people stayed. They regretted it. They said they had never seen something so terrible. Sitting on the second floor as the water breached the house and almost touched the ceiling. I sat at work the next week looking at the wreckage online. The Mantoloking bridge, the Seaside Heights Pier, the Belmar beachfront. I watched the Facebook page of Manasquan where the township posted photos. My parents house was flooded with about a two feet of water. They were lucky. A lot of their neighbors were not. The next weekend we went back to help and see what had transpired. As we walked around the town you could see the waterline tattooed on the houses. Trees cutting houses in half. Florescent rectangles with an X through the middle. Pink tags on doors. Boats on the street. Docks twisted like pretzels.
The area most devastated by the storm was the beachfront. It was not open again until December 3rd. I went down there with my camera and some black and white film. My idea was to take a double exposure of the houses that were affected and the force that damaged them and present them together in the same image. To show the source of the destruction that has permanently changed the area and what was left after the waters receded. While I was there I met a lot of people who were cleaning up and rebuilding. Their overall attitude was positive and hopeful. As I was shooting people would come up and talk to me about the camera, their experience, where they lived and how hopeful they were. Some even photographed me while photographing them. At one point the car battery died. Someone came off their porch that was damaged from the storm. He was taking a smoke break for fixing the house and he jump started the car for me. I remain positive about the town and their ability to spring back. It is out of reverence for these areas that my family and I have called home over the years that I make these images.
Update: In the past month the popular bar Leggetts in Manasquan N.J. just opened again after the storm deposited 4 feet on sand across the first floor. We went there to celebrate and the bar was completely full. Each year my parents have a St. Patricks Day party and this year they were able to get the house back into shape in time for the party. It was a celebration for many things.