I had just wrapped a fantastic shoot in Liverpool, UK for Nickelodeon and flew directly to Las Vegas for another shoot. This time, I was shooting advertisements for Pawn Stars, Season 3, for History Channel, another great client of mine after working on all the photographs for the previous season.
After the 11 hour haul across the ocean, I settled in to my hotel late at night for what I thought was going to be the first peaceful time to sleep for more than 4 hours in awhile. However, that morning I was awakened by a call from David Hobby- the Strobist.
“Jeeze David, can’t we talk about ND filters some other time,” I thought in my head.
However his tone wasn’t his usual bubbly self. He let me know that a Tsunami had hit the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, an area I have been connected with since my trip there last year. I had heard about an earthquake the day before from Cale Glendening, but there was no report of a wave at that point. Of course David knew… “Mentawai” had become a trending topic on Twitter, meaning it was currently one of the most talked about things on the site. If there’s one person who knows social media, it’s David. Now Twitter had brought the world together, and shed light on a disaster in a remote area of the world most people don’t know about. I love social media for this reason. Although the particular island of Siberut I visited was the least affected, the other islands in the chain were severely hit.
I felt terrible just sitting in my fancy Vegas hotel, complete in comfort. I never feel guilty when shooting commercial advertisements, I love this lifestyle just as much as anybody… but I knew there was at least something I could do.
You can follow their amazing progress and current relief status in the Mentawai here.
I wrote them tonight discussing a collaboration, and the responded almost instantly. +1. To be honest I am weary of most
organizations like this, as I’ve seen first hand a lot of indirect harm from charities throughout my travels. However, their operation works together with my beliefs-
SurfAid believes that development should be sustainable and encompass the social, spiritual, cultural, and economic well being of its beneficiaries.
SurfAid believes that in all promotional activity, members should ensure that the dignity of beneficiaries is recognized and advanced.
And I’m not just expecting other people to help the problems, after all a week comes and goes. I will obviously include a decent contribution of my own. But I’m not going to blog about that and pat myself on the back.
Being there last year when there were massive earthquakes for weeks, I know a bit about what it’s like. However, the scale of the recent tsunami is massive. These people have given so much to me and left a permanent imprint on my mold as a person. This is really the least I can do.