Photographer MIKE HERMAN
I walked all day after the Hurricane Sandy had finally passed and was completely in shock at what I was looking at as I got further and further into local beach towns. Although my family and I had been blessed that we did not suffer any damages due to the storm my heart went out to those close friends, relatives, and even total strangers that did. Local businesses and landmarks that had faced the brutality of the storm were not totally unrecognizable, but were completely destroyed. A feeling of helplessness was all that could be felt as you would walk past a family gutting their once beautiful beachside home. The beach towns that we were traveling barefoot, suns tanned, and care free just this summer are now graveyards of the attractive hot spots they once were.
Without a doubt I feel that the past several days have changed everything and everyone on the Jersey Shore. Not only did Sandy cause substantial damage to the area itself, but the toll it took on the people here is huge. If you travel from block to block along the shore you can see that even though the houses are intact, almost every possession inside these houses had to be thrown out on the street like garbage. What it must feel like as a homeowner to lose everything in the course of a day must be one of the worst possible tragedies they could have been cursed with. I volunteered to help several families whose houses had been flooded and they said they were doing fine, but the looks on their faces as they cleaned showed otherwise. Watching them move boxes of ruined family photos to the curb along with the ruined insulation and couches was by far one of the saddest things to watch someone do. The restoration of the shore will not take as long as the restoration of the people’s lives who reside here.
The first photo was taken at Sea Girt and the devastation to the boardwalk and to the surrounding area is extensive. Since Sea Girt Beach is a place that I practically grew up on it’s one of the most depressing things to see it in ruin. Railings, pieces of houses and anything else that the wind and water could carry are now everywhere you could see. This specific shot was taken with a wide angle lens on top of a mound of sand that had been pushed out of the parking lot by bulldozers. The waves and the destruction of a hurricane are apparent in this photo.
The second is another photo at Sea Girt and although there’s nothing shocking or amazing about the shot there’s a lot more to be said about it. All day people walked through their ravaged towns and while I was venturing along the beaches there wasn’t a moment were you wouldn’t see someone picking trash off the beach or helping a neighbor. You can see the people walking all along the beach helping others in this photo and seeing that tells a lot about the people of our area.
For the towns that did suffer substantial damage such as Seaside, Manasquan, Belmar, and the numerous others I feel that they will be rebuilt bigger and better, but the familiar sights won’t be the same ever again. The physical damage that Sandy dealt to the Shore is one thing, but the damage that we don’t see right now is how this will change the way things are done here. It’s a matter of time and work that’s done by the volunteers that will ultimately restore the shore. You see the goodness in people during these times; the compassion that humanity is capable of is a very powerful tool. God Bless the People of the Jersey Shore.
Camera: Pentax K-X
F-stop: f/ 14
Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec
F-stop: f/ 13
Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec