Among the thousands of images taken of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, showing mangled houses and weeping children, photographs of floating family albums and framed memories lost to the storm have been particularly poignant.
For these families, there is no way to rebuild a photograph of a baby’s first step, a great-grandfather’s smile, a son’s lost tooth or a daughter’s prom night – but now local photographers are banding together to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy reclaim their memories with free portrait sessions and image restoration.
Photographer Meg Bitton formed Souls Rebuilt on November 1, inspired to help the thousands of suffering families the best way she knew how: with photographs.
‘The goal is a simple one,’ she said on her website. ‘To provide a new set of family memories through photographs to those that lost theirs in the storm.’
She has already ventured to numerous areas devastated by the storm, offering her services to whomever needs them. More than 100 photographers interested in helping have already been in touch, anxious to mobilize their art and get to work.
‘The response to this has been overwhelming.’ she said. ‘Over 100 photographers have volunteered.’
Ms Bitton has already organized one relief trip to Staten Island, packing blankets, supplies and cameras.
Families interested in having their waterlogged images repaired can also reach out to Souls Rebuilt and connect with an expert re-toucher, happy to help victims salvage what photographs remain.
‘So far we are seeing that the Hurricane survivors are of course focusing on basic needs, food and shelter,’ Ms Bitton said. ‘Once people are more recovered, it will be our turn.’