Malibu Fire California 2008
Its not often I photograph disaster areas, or disaster porn sites as its often referred to. But there have been times when this kind of work has a place within the vernacular of my photography.
As part of my BCB Project (By Coastal Borders to give it's full title) I drove down to Hastings and the site of the recent fire which engulfed the its Pier a few days ago. I felt It was important to at least make a record of such an event especially with this project of mine fast becoming a documentation of the UK, all be it a slightly pretty one. Now I know most people would not view such a thing as a burnt out old pier as a disaster, I personal thought the thing was a disaster before the fire, It was closed to the public, a total eye sore with its horrid yellow paint job and vulgar bright adverts, and to add to that, the thing was falling to bits and a total death trap. But to people living in the town, it was as if someone had died. Locals gathered round the site like the tomb of a fallen soldier. I was astonished how effected people had become and it even reminded me of the death of Lady Di when people camped near the palace and laid flowers for the women none of them knew.
What fascinated me the most, and always does in these circumstances, was that everyone was taking pictures. A photo of the wreckage, a photo with a child stood in front of the wreckage, a photo with a fireman, a photo of me making a photo of the wreckage, so on and so on. People wanted evidence. They wanted to look back and say I was there, look at this, look at that sexy bald photographer with a big camera.
Without harping on too much, it reminded me once again of the importance of photography and visual media. Its certainly hard to imagine a life without it.
I will be first to tell you that the camera always lies, but it also tells the truth and reminds us were we have been..