Photographer Wyatt Gallery is producing #SANDY, a book of iPhone photographs of Hurricane Sandy taken by acclaimed photographers to be published by Daylight Books later this fall. The hardbound book includes 100 images, and signed pre-purchased copies will be available for distribution on the one-year anniversary of superstorm Sandy, which also coincides with the Sandy exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York featuring select work from some of the photographers in the book.
Wyatt has started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for the production of the book with 100 percent royalties donated to Occupy Sandy to support rebuilding efforts and the communities affected by the storm.
Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast on Oct. 22, 2012, and devastated communities in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut. As a response to the storm, Wyatt Gallery and Foley Gallery organized an exhibition of iPhone photographs of the aftermath from acclaimed photographers. Last year, on Nov. 19th, Michael Foley hosted the fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in his gallery in New York and featured a one-night exhibition of the iPhone photographs of the aftermath of the storm by renowned contemporary photographers. The exhibit included 150 8” x 8” iPhone photographs printed by Gotham Imaging in N.Y. Photographs went on sale for $50. Within days, they sold nearly 400 photographs and raised $19,000, which was donated to Occupy Sandy and Alison Thompson’s Rockaway Relief center run by Third Wave Volunteers.
Instagram as game changer in field of documentary photography – photographers combine the power of social media and mobile images to promote awareness and help communities in need.
Wyatt is among several photographers who utilize mobile images and the power of social media to respond to events in real time. The idea for the project took place while shooting the aftermath of the storm when Wyatt joined photographers Ben Lowy and Ruddy Roye who were shooting for Time and The New Yorker’s instagram feed. Wyatt followed their lead, and left his Digital SLR at home. Using his iPhone allowed Wyatt greater mobility and the ability to post images in the moment on his Instagram feed. At the time, many of his Instagram followers asked how they might help and where might they volunteer. His photographs were making a difference as he posted in real time and reached a large audience.
[Side note: I remember when storm Sandy hit. I was in my studio in D.C. at the time and remember receiving more information on the Instagram feed of photographers Wyatt Gallery and Ed Kashi (also featured in #SANDY) compared to the news being broadcast on TV from major networks.]
While driving home one evening after one of their shoots of the aftermath with photographers Lowy and Roye, he discussed the idea of selling their iPhone images to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts. They were in. It was after the one-night exhibition at the Foley Gallery when someone suggested creating a book to commemorate the project. Wyatt reached out to Ed Kashi, Stephen Wilkes, among others, and more photographers came on board.
The project is also a testament to the power of the iPhone and social media in the hands of documentary photographers. Instagram and the iPhone have been a game changer in the field of photojournalism. Photographers Ben Lowy and Michael Christopher Brown, included in the book, are well known for using their iPhone to report from war zones in Africa and the Middle East. Photographer Ed Kashi also uses his iPhone for major news and editorial commissions from major news publications. The iPhone and social media places power in the hands of the user, to respond in real time to events and post images immediately on an international level. It provides mobility, immediacy and instant distribution of images of events in real time.
iPhone book reminds the pubic communities hit by Sandy are still in need
After a year from the storm, many residents hit by the Hurricane are struggling to get back to normal living conditions. Wyatt and fellow photographers hope to remind the public that many are still in need. The book is available for pre-purchase and will be released later this fall.
Wyatt is no stranger to utilizing the power of images to raise awareness and support communities in need. He has a history of documenting aftermaths of natural disasters, publishing photo books, and selling his photographs to raise money for communities in need. In 2011, he published “Tent Life: Haiti” with Umbrage Editions. Instead of focusing on tragedy and disaster, he focused on the strength and beauty of the people of Haiti who endured the earthquake. The book features inspirational portraits of dignity and determination and shows the reality of Haitian living a year after the earthquake. Over a million Haitian people lost their homes during the January 2010 earthquake and were forced to life in tent cities and promised aide, which has yet to materialize. Photographs from his book were on exhibit at the Umbrage Gallery in 2011 and 100 percent of the royalties went to Haitian charities J/P Haitian Relief Organization, Healing Haiti and the Global Syndicate. Wyatt’s project raised $40,000 from this project toward Haitian relief.
For more on Wyatt Gallery, stay tuned for my in-depth spotlight on his work and life coaching practice Conceive It Achieve It to be published in the December/January Think Big issue of Professional Artist magazine. The article will decipher Wyatt’s determination to follow his bliss, think big and how his life coaching practice helps artists jumpstart their dream visions, turning brilliant ideas into reality.