10/29/2014 11:19 am ET Updated Oct 29, 2014

Two Years On, Remembering The Raw Devastation Left Behind By A Hurricane

Hurricane Sandy swept along the New Jersey coastline with a fury that left little in its wake. The storm devastated my hometown.

I set out with a camera days after, instructed by my professors at Columbia Journalism School to hunt down the "biggest story of the year."

The scene was set, but I was overwhelmed. There were so many options and different avenues to pursue.

I drove to the beach, my go-to destination for a quiet calm, but this time around things were different. Asbury Park and Belmar looked like they had their throats ripped out. Everywhere I went, trash and debris littered the landscape. Boardwalks had been wrenched off their pylons, homes and stores sat with shattered windows, sagging under their own weight; the remnants of beachside life were scattered with reckless abandon.

It was a depressing sight.

I drove from one town to the next, encountering barricades, police, the National Guard in their camouflage Humvees.

Everything everywhere was a mess. Lots of piles of garbage. Big piles of garbage.

But I had found my theme, albeit an odd one.

I would set out to photograph piles of trash and debris that surrounded me. To me they told the story of true devastation in a way that was raw and real but that exposed a beauty and impending peace.

Post-Sandy Photos


Hurricane Sandy