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On October 29, 2012, a hurricane, known as Sandy, made its way up the eastern seaboard. As she formed and began its journey in the Atlantic, meteorologists on the east coast kept track of this storm. However, as the hurricane became stronger and more powerful while approaching northward along the eastern seaboard, news stations were continuously reporting and keeping track of the pathways of this storm to keep the citizens up to date on the path and to get prepared for this storm. As this storm approached the New England area, it took a sharp left turn into the upper mid-Atlantic states, causing rough tides, storm surges, and all other elements that come with a powerful hurricane. After the storm rolled through New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, the damage was horrific, and news reports and photographers came out to observe and report on the damage across the land that Hurricane Sandy had blew past. One image of the aftermath had struck me as I was browsing around for images.
The first thing that sticks out to me would be the two women versus the background of the scenery. What is shown in the picture itself is that the damaged left from Hurricane Sandy is blurred and that the two women are clear. It comes to show that the women are also closer up to us compared to the rest of the picture. Why does this image present itself that way though? There are many reasons why this could be, but in my opinion, this combination presents itself that the image focuses on the women to make me question why that one girl is crying while the emergency responder is present. That is when the background of the debris comes in. The damage in the background, however, is blurry. The photo resulted in this particular arrangement because of the one message of the fact of how severe the aftermath is. Knowing that the girl had lost all her possessions in the storm resonates in the photo when looking at the blurry background image when looking closer at the piles of the house that was knocked down.
Looking deeper into the photo, however, is the damage within the two women, especially the girl who is crying in the emergency responder’s arms. The girl, after at the destruction, was hurt emotionally by how much of her processions and all her memories of what she had were gone. The way she feels makes us feel sympathy for her because a lot of us have been in either the same situation or a much similar one. To lose your processions in a natural disaster whether it is a major hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or even a tsunami creates the feeling of depression that lays in all of us that we wish we would never lose. What is also shocking to know is that “Young brothers Brendan and Connor Moore, 2 and 4, were sucked out of the hands of their mother Glenda Moore as she struggled to escape the swirling flood waters that overran much of Staten Island” (Adams Otis). Learning this fact, it also caught my attention that relates in some way to the image presented here.
This connects with this image because these two children lost their mother in the flooding waters, which is sad to learn and to even experience losing their mother in a natural disaster makes it even sadder. Losing a loved one is really sad because there is love between family members and relatives because they are your family and even if those two boys have lost their mother so soon in their lives creates such a heartbreak for a lot of us. The damage that the girl feels within her is much clearer than what is behind her and the emergency responder because of the literal damage, which presents itself as a deeper meaning within the image than what is seen on the photo. Knowing that the two women in the picture are much clearer than the damage in the background shows deeper meaning within the context of the image resonates with me shows how powerful this image is.
Whether this image was published on its own as an individual story of the hurricane or whether this was part of a collection of images from the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, it showed how much the news coverage played a role after the hurricane stormed by. There was also news coverage before the hurricane hit to keep track of the storm’s path as well to prepare the public for what is to come from this hurricane. Knowing how much the news media cares about the safety of their viewers is important and no matter where this storm went, people were informed about where this hurricane was heading at the time. Even after the storm, the news coverage reported so much about the aftermath to help the people within the affected areas. The media distribution of this image along with the collection of other images similar to this demonstrates how media is used to let the viewers interpret the images.
This image ended up to present itself because of how and where the photographer took this image. The location of this image, first of all, is in Breezy Point in Queens, New York. This neighborhood was one of the neighborhoods that were greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy. As I look at how this photographer took this photo, this individual most likely took this image at standing height. In other words, this person was in eye level as the two women that are embracing. If this image was shot in a different angle, however, it would have a totally different meaning. What do I mean by this? If the photographer took the photograph with him looking up at the two women, it would make them have a sense of superiority rather than the “equality” that they and the photographer have at eye level. It would not make a difference if this image was taken in another location that was affected by hurricane Sandy because it was part of the path of the storm. Although not all towns faced the same amount of damage from the storm, it would have told a similar story as the image of Breezy Point. However, the tone of this image evokes a memory that happened not too long ago in my life.
The sadness from this image brings back memories from senior year of high school. On September 20, 2014, I learned the news that one of my classmates passed away in a tragic one-car crash. I was quite shocked and deeply saddened that he passed away because he was supposed to graduate with me and the class of 2015, as I have learned, along with the fact that he was a tri-season superstar athlete and a well known and liked person. I regret the fact that I never got to meet him and I felt bad especially for his twin sister, who I have gotten know over the course of the year. Just by looking at the images and the video of the headline in the news media is hard to look at just like in the image of the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. Knowing how much he impacted other people showed how much he is an inspiration to other people and that every person he meets, his symbolism of a true Sachem, the mascot of my high school, resonates with the community still to this day.
Just like my classmate, the emergency responder is a symbol of everyday inspiration and heroism. How do they represent these two lens? By being there for the girl who was hurt by the devastation of Sandy creates a heartwarming sensation, even though it is hard to recover from the loss the girl has. Also, the officer provides comfort to people like her who are going through such hard times like these because they know the devastation that is caused by natural disasters that was immensely huge and powerful as this storm was. By being there for others in times such as this shows unity between two or more people, it shows how people can be “heroic” and even inspirational to anyone. This shows that acts like this can make someone feel better and that it can make a huge difference in people’s lives.
There are many ways to look at this particular image that make it so powerful to me which led me to analysis this image. Knowing that the photographer posed at eye level with the two women in this image provides a visionary sense that nothing is dominant over the other and nothing feels small. The way the media presents the aftermath through multiple methods of news broadcasts makes the viewers visualize how bad this storm really was through the eyes of the news photographers and live broadcast. The overall theme is definitely the damage that is not only present in the blurry background, but within the girl who is crying, where the emotional damage is present. Even the feelings that I experienced when I was looking closer at this image made me remember the memory of my classmate’s death. Once the details are spotted and thought about more in depth, the image will speak to you.
With that said, all of the little details in this photo that I mentioned are what makes the image as a whole stand out to me over the other images, which is why I chose this one in particular. The message it sends about the damage of not only the background, but also the girl who is crying and it sent a message to me that this image is very sad and the image may evoke other images or experiences that was relatable to this image in particular. By picking out these details carefully within the picture, there will be deep conversations between people about what the image is about in a more detailed level. As a result of picking out details based off what we know and seen and can closely thought about, there is a possibility that by discussing this image in particular that can help us think about life and how the emotional damage can occur at times that bring us down.
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