Here is another photo from the Point Pleasant New Jersey showing the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The house is right on the Manasquan Inlet. I took this photo once before, but I made a mistake in processing it. I was so taken with the devastation in the area that I went back multiple times to get it right.
In Point Pleasant, a whole street on the Manasquan Inlet was torn apart by Hurricane Sandy. An Oceanside restaurant suffered major damage and is still laying in pieces. The waterline still visible, the awning shredded. The place is just a skeleton of what it used to be. See more photos here.
I came across this house in Point Pleasant N.J. right on the Manasquan Inlet. The whole street here had been torn apart. This is one of the many that suffered damage. Six months after Hurricane Sandy, it still remains untouched. The belongings from the occupants laid bare for all to see. See more photos here.
This is what is left of Donovan's Reef in Sea Bright after Hurricane Sandy. This past weekend I to scout out the area with my father to see if there were still places to photograph. I came across Donovan's, or what was left of Donovan's and what struck me about this scene was all the debris scattered about, the large hole that was left and the way the telephone pole leaned over. I have a strong connection to this bar I used to drink at in Seabright N.J. A lot of my old High School friends would go there all the time. I was told it was bad, but I had not seen it for myself. One hot summer day, my father and I were in the area on a Saturday afternoon and we were hungry and thirsty. As we made our way to Donovan's Reef, we were almost run over by a crowd of people. It was bizarre at that time because it was a Saturday afternoon, a time when the place is usually not that crowded. We decided to go elsewhere for lunch and only when we went home, did we find out that Bruce Springsteen made a surprise visit to the bar. I always joke about how people in NJ always have a story about how they met the boss or have someone related to him (apparently, he has a lot of relatives, according to the stories) so I joke that this is the closest thing to a Bruce story I have.
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.
Today, my interview with the Impossible Project was posted on their blog. If you don't know who they are, The Impossible Project are the makers of the new Polaroid type film. The project that was featured is my "Life and Death of a Shore Town". It is about how drastically different shore towns and beach communities are during different times of the year. Now after Hurricane Sandy, the towns in New Jersey will be changed in a way that I could never imagine. I am sure a lot of people will not return or will not be able to return. The rental houses, which are primarily for young kids, will not survive or if they do there will be very few of them left. I want to thank the Impossible Project for all there support and for bringing back some wonderful film with all it's idiosyncrasies. These photos were taken with this film specifically because of the instant and often unpredictable nature of the film. To stress the temporary nature of communities.