Brian Shumway on Sandy

News February 11, 2013 7:51 am

When Brian told me that he had been assigned by People to photograph the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I couldn’t wait to see how he covered it. Here is a little bit about the shoot from the man himself and a few of my favorite shots, below:

In November, I covered Hurricane Sandy for People Magazine. I worked with a writer (Janine Rayford) on the story for three days. Press coverage was so intense we were only able to get access to Breezy Point, Queens (where the neighborhood fire happened and one of the hardest hit areas) the first two days. The third we spent shooting relief efforts in Coney Island. Disasters are always difficult to cover. You have to find material the magazine wants and can use while being sensitive to the emotional state of the people you’re encountering and avoid turning it into a media spectacle, which is sometimes unavoidable given the amount of media coverage such disasters attract. Many people were nice and open to telling their stories and being photographed. But there were a couple of times people outright told me to stop shooting, and of course I respected their wishes and moved on. The hurricane was a horrific situation for those who were forced to endure it, but as a photographer it was an exciting and important assignment. I’ve mainly been doing portrait-based and commercial work, so doing a photojournalism assignment covering one of the biggest natural disasters to ever hit New York City was an awesome opportunity.    

See more from this series, here.

Brian Shumway - Teasha Young (46), born and raised in Breezy Point, Queens, takes pictures of her nieces on the back porch of her home. The basement and part of the first floor of her home were flooded from Hurricane Sandy.

Brian Shumway – Teasha Young (46), born and raised in Breezy Point, Queens, takes pictures of her nieces on the back porch of her home. The basement and part of the first floor of her home were flooded from Hurricane Sandy.

Brian Shumway - Jimmy Durrante (14) climbs onto a fence in a flooded backyard to get back on a row boat with his friends Ryan Smith (16), John Flannigan (16) and sister Kristen Flannigan (13) in Breezy Point, Queens many flooded streets and alleys. They are going to the community center to volunteer.

Brian Shumway – Jimmy Durrante (14) climbs onto a fence in a flooded backyard to get back on a row boat with his friends Ryan Smith (16), John Flannigan (16) and sister Kristen Flannigan (13) in Breezy Point, Queens many flooded streets and alleys. They are going to the community center to volunteer.

Brian Shumway - Matthew Brennan (34) and his brother Timothy Brennan (32) stand with a rake in front of his childhood home that burnt to the ground in Breezy Point, Queens. One of the only things he and his brother found was his mother's engagement ring. The city did not shut off power to the area, as in previous hurricanes and tornados, and water caused an electrical fire to start in one of the homes which spread to dozens of others.

Brian Shumway – Matthew Brennan (34) and his brother Timothy Brennan (32) stand with a rake in front of his childhood home that burnt to the ground in Breezy Point, Queens. One of the only things he and his brother found was his mother’s engagement ring. The city did not shut off power to the area, as in previous hurricanes and tornados, and water caused an electrical fire to start in one of the homes which spread to dozens of others.

Brian Shumway - A young girl looks over the burn zone, a cluster of homes that caught fire during Hurricane Sandy in Breezy Point Queens, NY.

Brian Shumway – A young girl looks over the burn zone, a cluster of homes that caught fire during Hurricane Sandy in Breezy Point Queens, NY.

Brian Shumway - Volunteer firemen sit in chairs on the stage where the people they rescued were huddled to stay above flood water during hurricane Sandy which devastated Breezy Point, Queens, NY.

Brian Shumway – Volunteer firemen sit in chairs on the stage where the people they rescued were huddled to stay above flood water during hurricane Sandy which devastated Breezy Point, Queens, NY.

Brian Shumway - Brian Quinn (27), whose home was flooded by Hurricane Sandy, is helped by his friend from Long Island Chris Semelrath in the clean up his home and surrounding area in Breezy Point. Chris was engaged to be married in about two weeks, but the home he was going to buy and move into (his fiance's) was destroyed in the hurricane and the wedding is now on hold.

Brian Shumway – Brian Quinn (27), whose home was flooded by Hurricane Sandy, is helped by his friend from Long Island Chris Semelrath in the clean up his home and surrounding area in Breezy Point. Chris was engaged to be married in about two weeks, but the home he was going to buy and move into (his fiance’s) was destroyed in the hurricane and the wedding is now on hold.

Brian Shumway - A woman on a ladder leans over to peek into the window of her home destroyed bu Hurricane Sandy as her son, wearing a camera, stands nearby. Breezy Point, Queens.

Brian Shumway – A woman on a ladder leans over to peek into the window of her home destroyed bu Hurricane Sandy as her son, wearing a camera, stands nearby. Breezy Point, Queens.

Brian Shumway - Jalen Espuet (11), patiently waits to volunteer with her mother and sister at Surf Playground in Coney Island as victims behind her line up for rations of food and water to victims of Hurricane Sandy in the area.

Brian Shumway – Jalen Espuet (11), patiently waits to volunteer with her mother and sister at Surf Playground in Coney Island as victims behind her line up for rations of food and water to victims of Hurricane Sandy in the area.

Brian Shumway - Peter Drasher (49), who runs a brokerage firm, traveled from Manchester, Vermont to hand out staples like food, toiletries and flashlights out of the back of his truck to victims of Hurricane Sandy in Surf Playground on Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Brian Shumway – Peter Drasher (49), who runs a brokerage firm, traveled from Manchester, Vermont to hand out staples like food, toiletries and flashlights out of the back of his truck to victims of Hurricane Sandy in Surf Playground on Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Brian Shumway - Amir Abdulrahman (19) is a Hurricane Sandy victim turned volunteer who hands out clothes outside Surf Playground in Coney Island Brooklyn.

Brian Shumway – Amir Abdulrahman (19) is a Hurricane Sandy victim turned volunteer who hands out clothes outside Surf Playground in Coney Island Brooklyn.

Brian Shumway - Volunteer firemen who rescued people from both Hurricane Sandy and the fire blaze caused by the storm in Point Breezy, Queens help one of their own clear out the flooded basement of volunteer fire figher Tim Dufficy, which they call Camp Duff and has become the a refuge (or barracks) for firemen who have themselves been displaced by the storm.

Brian Shumway – Volunteer firemen who rescued people from both Hurricane Sandy and the fire blaze caused by the storm in Point Breezy, Queens help one of their own clear out the flooded basement of volunteer fire figher Tim Dufficy, which they call Camp Duff and has become the a refuge (or barracks) for firemen who have themselves been displaced by the storm.

Brian Shumway

Brian Shumway


 

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