Stephen Wilkes Opens "Remnants"
As the world braced for Hurricane Sandy in 2012, we knew it was going to be big but few knew that the devastation would reach far enough into the future to affect communities to this day. The largest Atlantic hurricane on record hit every east coast state of the United States, affecting 24 states in all and costing $75 billion dollars, a figure that continues to rise as the days go on even all these years later. Immediately after the storm, Stephen Wilkes strapped on his camera to help communicate to the world the breadth and depth of the damage for those who weren’t able to understand it. With boots on the ground and shots from the air, Stephen captures the devastation from every possible angle, creating a visual time capsule of the storm’s effects.
Stephen does work like this because he finds his skills as a photographer go a long way towards making these stories digestible to the larger population. “I’ve often found that there is great power in telling difficult stories in a beautiful way,” says Stephen. “There are moments in journalism when the media captures the visual details of a disaster, yet sometimes misses the true scale of devastation.”
There are millions of factors that make a storm like Sandy happen, but the global warming and rising temperatures of our oceans are some of the largest contributors to the severity of the storm. A higher water line meant deeper flooding and greater damage. Stephen hopes that showing the inevitable impact of human activity in the world can lead to change in how we interact with our environment. “It’s my hope that these images serve as a wakeup call — whether that call is about global warming, infrastructure, or just the recognition that the world is changing, it’s a reminder that we need to take special care of our fragile world.”
Stephen Wilkes’ “Remnants” is on view at Monroe Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe, New Mexico through November 22.