Rising Waters: Photographs of Hurricane Sandy

October 24th, 2013


The images display the power of Mother Nature, the cruel reach of a superstorm that swept through the region one-year ago.

They are personal, powerful and universal. On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy wrought havoc on the greater New York City area, bringing destruction, flooding, power outages, and, in many cases, loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.

The Museum of the City of New York opened the definitive exhibition on Superstorm Sandy, unveiling images culled through a crowdsourced endeavor, which drew more than 10,000 submitted images. They cover the region – from Lower Manhattan to the Rockaways to Staten Island to Red Hook – and beyond.

Presented in collaboration with the International Center for Photography, Rising Waters: Photographs of Sandy chronicles the cataclysmic force of Sandy through more than 200 pictures – in color and black and white. The images were taken by professionals and amateurs using smartphones, everyday people who were personally and profoundly affected by the storm.

“One year later, Rising Waters presents a visual history of the worst storm ever to hit the New York City region,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, the Ronay Menschel Director of the City Museum. “These images will shock and amaze people, and this exhibition will spark conversations about how to make our city better prepared for future storms.”

The exhibition is organized into six sections – Storm, Destruction, Home, Coping, Relief, and Not Over – that include images ranging from iconic depictions of large-scale destruction, to intimate portraits of Sandy’s impact on the lives of everyday people, to images taken during the height of the storm by photographers in perilous positions.

Mansura Khanam, for instance, took an image called “Adaptation” three days after the storm, showing a woman washing meat at a fire hydrant. “It was such a gripping, representative image of how neighborhoods throughout New York, especially in low-income and immigrant enclaves, found ways to deal with the consequences of the loss of vital systems,” said Khanam, of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Matthew Nighswander captured the darkness beyond the Brooklyn Bridge.

“The power failure was a reminder that some of our technology had failed in the wake of the powerful storm, but looming in the dark, the Brooklyn Bridge seemed more indestructible than ever,” said the Carroll Gardens resident.

In a multimedia installation, Rockaway resident and photojournalist Susannah Ray portraits four neighbors, paired with audio interviews – each conducted by WNYC’s Jen Poyant. Another highlight is a photo diary/scrapbook by photographer Larry Raccioppo, a Breezy Point resident, in which he documents the storm and its aftermath in his home and neighborhood.

Rising Waters will be on view at the City Museum – which is located at 1220 Fifth Avenue – through February 10, 2014. For more information, visit www.mcny.org.

- Jeff Simmons

Superstorm Sandy

NYC: Superstorm Sandy

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