August 30, 2013

Friday Round Up - 30 August

This week Friday Round Up comes to you on the eve of the opening of Visa pour l'Image in Perpignan, the international photojournalism festival held annually in France. This year Visa celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Next week I'll be posting from Perpignan, but on today's Friday Round Up Sydney photographer Louise Whelan launches her book 'New Settlers' that celebrates Australia's multiculturalism, New York-based Australian photographer Kisha Bari makes her debut at this year's Photoville Festival with her documentary project 'How Sandy Hit Rockaway' and Kerry Pryor's 'Sight Unseen' is on show in Melbourne. Plus my feature interview with the inimitable Tim Page can be read by clicking on the Feature Articles tab at the top of the blog. Have a great weekend wherever you are. 

Book Launch:
Louise Whelan - New Settlers

Click on the image for launch details.

Look out for my interview with Louise in tomorrow's Weekend Australian magazine (31 August). The book is available from T&G Publishing, click here for details.

Kisha Bari - How Sandy Hit Rockaway

An Australian photographer, now based in New York, Kisha Bari has spent the past ten months documenting the residents in New York’s Rockaway Peninsula, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy last year. Her photo essay is included in this year’s Photoville Festival and will be displayed alongside the other 32 shipping container photo exhibits that comprise the Festival, which opens on 19 September. Kisha will also be part of a discussion panel with The Museum of New York about photographing Hurricane Sandy on 22 September.

Kisha has kindly shared a selection of her work in words and pictures with Photojournalism Now. It is wonderful to see that those who are still living with the aftermath of the Hurricane are given a chance to tell their stories long after the disaster has fallen from the news headlines. Kisha's photographs are compassionate and thoughtful. She has created a strong body of work.

Week 1 - Gerald Silvester

Gerald Silvester shows me the water mark on his house on Beach 36th st. He’s glad he evacuated as the water level came above the height of his two children. He lives in a single story home. He and his family stayed at his sister’s house in Brooklyn.

Gerald and his wife came home to find everything destroyed. There was almost a foot of sand inside and the water had even overturned his refrigerator, which he found in the middle of his living room.

Week 2 - Gene Burke 

Gene Burke has been a resident of Rockaway since he was 6 years old. He saw the hurricane and waves approach and devastate his neighbourhood. Gene has seen many hurricanes sweep through the peninsula. "This was bigger than Donna!" he says. He lives on the 7th floor of a building on Beach 76th St.

".... that night, the water came. I saw the ocean. And the waves about a mile out, three quarters of a mile out, were actually rolling on top of the other waves. This was a monster! And I saw it come over the boardwalk..." 

With an overturned vehicle in the background, Gene tells me that he is looking after a friend who suffered a heart attack only a week before the storm. Neither of them have anywhere else to go. "We have no water, no electric, no food, no medical supplies. I mean, I can't think of one thing positive. Climbing steps with no emergency lights. Ya have to feel ya way up 5, 6 7, 8 flights."

2 Months - The Epifanio Family 

There are good people in the world and some not so good people, but upon meeting the Epifanio family in Bell Harbor, you understand that there are just some down right phenomenal people. Jim Epifanio left his job as a transmission mechanic in the Bronx over 12 months ago to care for his 92 year old father, Joe, a war veteran and ex-New York City Police man. He required 24 hour care. Jim’s mother, Mary lives with them also. Joe passed away just three weeks ago.

Jim’s wife, Denise teaches special needs children, but due to New York City Public School cut backs, she no longer has work. However, Denise’ mother, Anna, lives with them also. Anna had a stroke three years ago and suffers from dementia and alzheimer’s. Anna also needs 24hr care.

The light of the family is their 17year old son Ryan, who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Although he cannot walk or communicate with words, Ryan’s gentle and happy demeanor is what holds this entire family together. Ryan also needs constant care.

3 Months - Hazel Beckett 

74 year old Hazel Beckett lives alone on Beach 69th st. A retired nurse from Jamaica, she spent the night of Hurricane Sandy with her brother who lives on higher ground. “The place was all topsy-turvy!” she explains upon arriving home to find her basement apartment completely underwater with her freezer and washer/dryer turned on it’s head. The water rose a foot up into her first floor.

She recently had a new heating system installed in her home of 37 years. In the weeks without heat, Hazel would put red bricks on her stove on a low flame 24 hours a day to heat her house. Hazel has called out to a number of aid organizations and is currently awaiting volunteers to help remove the wooden floors of the first level of her home as it has now been enveloped by black mould.

10 Months - Mary Leonard 

Growing up in Rockaway, Mary Leonard is now a part time resident of Breezy Point. All her family live in Rockaway. One of her brothers lost his house in the Breezy fires and another has only just been able to move back into his home. All her many nieces and nephews also live on the Peninsula and were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Her love for the ocean and Rockaway is complete. After surfing her local Rockaway break for her whole life, 60 year old Mary hated the ocean after Sandy hit. She couldn’t even go to the beach after witnessing the devastation that her beloved ocean had caused. Now, after 10 months, she has just started surfing again.

Photoville runs 19-29 September. 
To view more of Kisha Bari's How Sandy Hit Rockaway story click here.

Kerry Pryor - Sight Unseen

Melbourne photographer Kerry Pryor has travelled to Ethiopia numerous times with her work for Eyes for Africa a non-profit organisation that funds cataract eye surgery for people in extreme poverty and remote areas of the country. In this series of nine portraits Kerry captures the moment before the patient is to meet with the surgeon. She says, “It’s an anxious time waiting to see the surgeon as many people have never even been treated by a doctor before”.

“Many of the patients you see in this exhibition have walked for miles, too poor to afford shoes, quite frail and exhausted by the time they arrive at the clinic. When they present to the doctors they have usually had cataracts for some time and their vision is very poor and they rely on the help of a family member to guide them."

“Cataract surgery is the difference between night and day and patients can usually go home within 24 hours with restored vision. The work Eyes For Africa performs is life changing as was my journey to Ethiopia”.

Until 7 September
Edmund Pearce Gallery
Level 2, Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street
Wed-Sat 11am-5pm

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