I started 2011 with a particular plan, to be more involved with hobbies and activities that interest me, some of which I have been rather slack about following up on. This was a good plan, and it started with me flying to Australia in Feb to visit my Dad who I had not seen for 7 years. Four days into that holiday my world, and that of several hundred thousand people changed forever when we had the massive earthquake on Feb 22.
I won’t go into the details, I have posted a bit about it here, and there is plenty online if you want to see, but it was the most devastating thing to happen to a whole city. And we are still dealing with the fallout and nowhere near even beginning anything like recovery. I lost a photography friend who was killed in one of the buildings that collapsed, and it seriously threw everyone off their game. We suddenly had other priorities like constant ongoing aftershocks (as I write this we are due to click over 10000 since Sept 4th when it all started), lack of clean water and having to boil it for months, having to use chemical or portaloos as the sewage systems were broken, roads badly damaged, power outages, people with houses sinking into the ground.
For me, I was lucky and the damage I had was minimal in the grand scheme of things, and was fixable, and after several months, fixed. But I completely lost my photography mojo. I still have hundreds of shots from my Melbourne trip in Sept I have never processed. I made an effort with my Brisbane ones, as my Dad wanted to see them, but it took a while before I was able to deal with them. I just didn’t have headspace available. We were all having to deal with so much other stuff, and I was working from home for months, then having to deal with driving across town (my commute is twice what it used to be) and every day the roadworks would take longer and be in a different place.
Its been hell and I know I have got off lightly, my house is still liveable, and I still have a job, and many thousands of people don’t have either or both of those things post Feb 22.
Oddly I never went out much to take photos of the damage, I just ………….couldn’t. I wanted to as a record of having lived through it, but we were bombarded with so many pictures and videos that I was just overloaded. Its only now in the last few months that I have felt that I could go out and take photos, and what I am shooting now is the renewal or response to the devastation.
Its a hard thing to explain unless you have lived through it or something like it. It’s different when you are actually living through it. And when the shakes started again on 23rd Dec with a 5.8 and a 6.0 within a couple of hours of each other, it made for a less than pleasant holiday experience.
But I/we survived, and continue to do so. I’m hoping I am stronger and I am ready to get out there with my camera and make some memorable images. I have had three shots accepted for an exhibition with the Rangiora Photographic Society in Feb, and they have been sucessfully printed and are at the framer now. That is going to be exciting. And if I get my shit together I may submit for my Honours with the Nature Photographic Society as well.
Lets hope 2012 is eventful in a GOOD way!