Corner-2BLot

Rebirth

After several weeks off from shooting we finally found the motivation to start shooting pictures and documenting the post Hurricane Sandy changes taking place in Manasquan, NJ.  One day on our way to the beach we noticed several houses, all within two blocks of each other, that are being lifted, raised, or knocked down.  We knew that we had to act quickly to record what was happening.

This past Saturday, 9-20-14, we gathered our gear, and made our way to the beach.  To our surprise the cool nigh air coupled with an impending storm created an incredible background for us to work with.

For the next two hours we worked three locations all on one block.  The first shot, as seen above, was the easiest to shoot because there was ample light coming from a street light less than a block away.

Setting the camera time to 7 minutes, the ISO to 100, and the F-Stop to 16 we just knew that we had a chance to capture a moment filled with drama, intrigue, and sadness.  After the camera rendered and we checked focus we moved half a block north to our next location.

Nestled between two finished homes, our next shot was a bit trickier because the lights from the house to the left were overpowering and taking away from the scene.  With some creative framing we isolated our subject and took another long exposure.  Again, 7 minutes, ISO 100, F-16.  This shot came out a bit darker than anticipated, but with the impending storm brewing off the coast we decided to “fix” this photograph in post production with the understanding that we could always go back to the location if we were not happy.

The final shot, as seen above, came just as the rain began coming down.  Reversing our camera settings to 4 seconds, ISO 100, F-2.8 we were able to capture the essence of the destruction; however, we did not capture the look of the project that we normally get with longer and drawn out exposures. 

We will continue to work this area over the next week or so to document the six to eight houses being lifted, raised, or fixed.  With so much change happening, it is good to be shooting again. 

Morristown art show tries to put back pieces after Sandy

Last night, 9-11-14, we premiered our work at Morris Arts at Gallery 14 in Morristown, NJ.
The show was well received by all that attended and there was plenty of great feedback about our project.  
Below are three reviews / overviews of the show. 

Read what MorristownGreen.com had to say about the show.
Read what Morris Arts had to say about the show.

Read what NewJerseyHills had to say about the show.

The show will run from 9/11/14 through 2/14/15.  Gallery hours are Mon – Fri 10:00 to 4:00.

Draft-Sandy-PC-w-stacked-design

Sandy – Destruction/Constructions Announcement

A new exhibit, Sandy—Destruction/Constructions is opening on 9/11/14 at The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Morris Arts in Morristown, NJ.  It was not planned to coincide with the anniversary of that disaster but rather, to roughly mark the second “birthday” of Hurricane Sandy—the Superstorm that racked the East coast of the United States.
This exhibition of work by four New Jersey artists reminds us of redemption and rebirth.  The aftermath of the storm is captured in hauntingly quiet, eerily captivating night photographs by Kevin Burkitt.  In each image, the solitude of darkness and devastation marry.  The calm and trauma silently scream out.  These are our points of reference for the other works.
Roddy Wildeman and Laura Petrovich-Cheney literally collected the remains of the storm in the form of wooden wreckage.  Splintered walls and floors, smashed boats, sheds, piers, docks and boardwalks have been meticulously selected, cut and incorporated into each of their very different wooden wall constructions.   Laura’s wooden quilts harken back to a bygone era of quilting bees, though her “fabric” is storm debris and her thread is glue and nails.  It is amazing how the warmth and hominess of an old-fashioned quilt oozes from her constructions.
Roddy’s assemblages explode as if he has captured the very energy from the storm.  On first seeing them, “starbursts” come to mind.  But, these dazzling shapes are intricately interwoven into a celestial matrix—all with reclaimed detritus.  His pieces are powerful and speak of abstract visions from a modern-day astronomer.
The humble craft of woodturning is elevated to fine art in the hands of Bruce Perlmutter.  His elegant bowls, vases, plates and platters that he has coaxed from trees felled by the storm, speak of his unique talent.  Like a sculptor, he envisions his finished object though it is hiding inside a huge tree trunk or branch.  He then, using carving tools and/or a lathe, removes everything that is preventing his art from emerging.   Once it is free, he examines the grain and surface and assesses its artistic value.  If it measures up to his very high standards, he will complete the process of shaping, sanding and finishing.   Voila!  The tree, like the Phoenix, rises from its ashes.
The opening of the exhibit to the public is from 6-8 PM, Thursday 9/11/14 but it can be seen during on weekdays from 9-5 at:
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation/Morris Arts
3rd Floor
14 Maple Ave.
Morristown, NJ 07960

Project Reviews

In just a few short weeks 11 pieces from our collection will be on display at Morris Arts at 14 Maple Ave, Morristown, NJ.  Recently, the gallery had this to say about our work. “Photographer Kevin Burkitt explores “the post-Hurricane landscape one night at a time in his series, 91 Days, Countless Nights.”  He uses “long exposures to shoot only at night, his work amplifies the ‘sadness and desperation,’ shore town by town.  The quiet eeriness of his photographs uncovers the desolate beauty within the tragedy.” 

This exhibition of work by four New Jersey artists reminds us of redemption and rebirth.  The aftermath of the storm is captured in hauntingly quiet, eerily captivating night photographs by Kevin Burkitt.  In each image, the solitude of darkness and devastation marry.  The calm and trauma silently scream out.  These are our points of reference for the other works.

We hope that you, or someone you know will take the time to see the exhibit and share with us your feelings and stories about the storm.

To learn more about the show, please visit www.morrisarts.org.

“Sidelight”

Several months ago we took a day trip to Seaside, NJ.  On our way we were detoured along the ocean between Bay Head and Mantoloking.  To our dismay, the houses in this area were still very badly damaged and some where beyond repair.

Later that week we went back out along the same route at night to see if we could take a few late-night photographs.  This house, which we call “Sidelight,” stuck out for many reasons.  First, the single street light created an eerie cast to the yellowish siding.  The entire front was gone and the porch was just barely hanging on.  We knew that this shot would speak volumes.  But we had to act quick because we were not welcome for very long.

After some minor shooting adjustments we decided to shoot this with our 20mm pocket lens.  The exposure time was around six minutes.  The aperture was around F-16.  After rendering, the picture took a little more than 12 minutes to finish.  For some reason waiting for the camera to render seemed like an eternity this night.  We knew that we would only have one or two chances to make this location work because the neighbors were not too keen on photographers taking pictures of the lingering damage.

Sure enough, on our second attempt we were able to capture one of our favorite and strongest images in the collection.

Two weeks later we returned and this house was completely different.  The side was patched up, the porch was fixed, and the structure was being rebuilt.  Luckily for us we went when we did; otherwise, we would have missed out on this opportunity.

Stills in motion

Several months ago we posted this video to YouTube to help raise awareness for our project.  Needless to say it has not gotten any hits. So, we thought we would drop it here to see what happens.

The images in this video are from Monmouth County, NJ starting from Manasquan to Union Beach.

Let us know what you think.

“Boo”

Ultimately what it all comes down to is starting over.  The house in the foreground, which we call the
“Boo” house remained stuck in time decorated for Halloween ready for trick-or-treaters.  This corner stands out for me for us because this is what Manasquan used to be, small houses on small lots. Clearly this was going to change.  The “Boo” house survived the storm; however, it was beyond repair.  The quintessential example of what beach living meant would fall victim to a bulldozer, dump truck, or maybe a dumpster or two.  What the storm couldn’t knock down someone else would.

By the winter of 2013, this lot was cleared.  The house was gone. “Progress” was being made.  For several months the lot remained vacant, ready for a new structure to be built in it’s place.  But who knew what would be coming?

The spring of 2014 saw an eight foot surrounding wall being built.  This foundation clearly indicated that a much bigger and stronger structure would be built where “Boo” once stood.   Within a matter of weeks the block was set, the footing was poured, and construction began.  What was once an unsuspecting summer getaway was now becoming another monstrosity on the Inlet.  We are not complaining, rather we just didn’t see this one coming.  We guess there is no need for charming when you have to worry about a six foot tidal surge. 

And so it began.  A new, well lifted house was being constructed.  The charm that once was was being replaced by a virtual giant, towering over the Inlet and signaling that recovery was being made.

Goodbye to the quaint, tiny, small, comfortable. If no one else wants to say it, we will.  We will miss you.

“Losing Bet At The Casino”

Each photograph in this collection is taken at night, late at night, very late at night.  We use a single long exposure to capture the subject using just the light available.  Once captured, the editing begins.  Each capture is edited in color in Lightoom and then dropped into NIK Silver Efex Pro for the black and white finishing work. Once the edits are done the image is again imported back into Lightroom, where they are “finished.”  This is our workflow.  Between shooting and editing creating a finished product takes a long time.  This is why we only take a few photos a night. 

Capturing destruction can turn into a beautiful experience.  For example, this photograph was taken in mid February, 2103 from Ocean Grove, NJ looking north into Asbury Park.  This image captures the iconic “Asbury Casino,” famous for the electric factory and carousel.

For those that know New Jersey, most of you know Asbury Park and the history that the city has endured over time.  Although the city is back to “normal,” we feel that this image captures a moment in time that will stand timeless.

Still

Honestly, we  never would have thought that 21 months ago we would still be working on the same project. Furthermore, we never would have thought thought that our work would matter to those that lost some, most, or all after Hurricane Sandy.  Although this is our first official blog post, we have been working on this project since November, 2013.  We began documenting the damage from the storm one night at a time not knowing where this would take us.  After a while we needed a catchy name, and came up with this: 91 Days, Countless Nights   In essence we found an outlet to make something beautiful from something horrible, tragic, random, and heart wrenching.

Tonight, 8/3/14, we continue to shoot pictures of the destruction left behind from Hurricane Sandy. The only difference about tonight is that it is one day later.  Just another night.  Progress is marked by a hard days work for most, but for us progress is recorded one night at a time.

We’ve seen so much in 21 months that it is all beginning to look the same.  Not in a bad way.  Rather, just in a sad, isolated, desolate way.  The “recovery” is slow.   Very slow for many reasons, most of which we will not go into here.

We are here to tell the story of structure.  Places.  Happier times held captive by various levels of constraint and hardship.

The images in our collection tell a different story.  A haunting story.  A harrowing story.  One that should not be forgotten.  We know nothing about what we are shooting.   We do not document addresses, towns, residency, or names.  All we care about is capturing what is still standing, what is being worked on, and what is being restored.   It is clear that we are in this for the long haul and we are prepared to keep documenting the changes, however slowly they were happening.

To date we have shot over 100 nights and have over 100 images in the collection.  Each nameless location tells the same story.  Sadness.  Isolation.  Depression.  Desperation.

This project has become an obsession.  Somehow we have taken it upon ourselves to create beauty from destruction, hoping those around us will see just how far we have to go before we “restore the shore.”

One Night At A Time.