By Todd Maisel
NEW YORK, NY – New York and New Jersey news photographers raised $1,325 at a fundraiser in late September when eight great metropolitan-based photographers showed their photographs of the destruction and human suffering in New Orleans and Mississippi caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The money, raised at a function of the New York Press Photographers Association, was presented by NYPAA president Ray Stubblebine of Reuters, and NYPPA treasurer Bill Perlman of the Star-Ledger in New Jersey, to NPPA Region 2 director Harry DiOrio, who transferred the donation to the National Press Photographers Foundation’s Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. The NPPA/NPPF relief fund is administered by a committee acting on behalf of the Foundation, a nonprofit charity that’s offering financial assistance to NPPA members and other photojournalists who suffered losses during the hurricanes in Alabama, Mississippi, and New Orleans.
New York area photographers wanted to raise money to lend an helping hand to their peers who live and work in the areas hit hardest by the storms, including a few photographers who have been told by their employers that there’s only a three month guarantee on their salaries as they go about their jobs, some without a place to live and others sharing living space with family.
Photographers from across NPPA’s Region 2 experienced the hurricane’s destruction firsthand while on assignment in the South and they showed their photographs to about 75 photographers and journalists at Jeolado, a popular Korean restaurant on Manhattan’s East Side. Among those showing pictures and answering questions from their fellow photographers were Vincent Laforet and Chang Lee, of The New York Times; Mike Appleton, Craig Warga, and Bryan Smith of the New York Daily News; Matt McDermott of the New York Post; Chad Rachman of the Staten Island Advance; and Reuters’ newest staffer, Shannon Stapleton.
Each story told by the photographers revealed different hardships, the dangers in lawless areas, and the difficulty establishing communications in decimated communities. But all were unanimous about the amount of destruction from the storms and the horror of seeing people who didn’t survive lying in the streets or floating in the sewage-filled waters. The New York area photographers, many who are also long-time NPPA members, opened their pocketbooks to give money to the fund that will be distributed to photojournalists in need.
During last week's 48th annual NPPA Flying Short Course, print auctions in Boston, Austin, and Eugene also raised cash for the NPPF/Katrina Relief Fund. The print auction in Eugene raised $1,854 according to NPPA vice president Tony Overman, and the print auction in Austin raised $1,425 according to NPPA president Alicia Wagner Calzada.
Anita Baca of the San Antonio Express-News says that at the Austin auction, “the tender and touching image of Saleh, the ‘Lion Heart,’ photographed by Deanne Fitzmaurice of the San Francisco Chronicle, the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography winning photograph, brought the highest bid of $125 from John Liston, photography editor for The Monitor in McAllen, TX. A photograph by Zach Ryall, director of photography for the Austin American-Statesman, of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn and his brother, Jimmy, playing a double-neck guitar, drew a lot of bidding as well. San Antonio College photography advisor Tricia Buchhorn took home the much sought after print of the Texas Blues legend Vaughn for $100.
Those interested in making a donation to the Fund can contact the Fund committee members: NPPA past president Bob Gould; JohnBallance at The Advocate in Baton Rouge; and Tim Mueller at The Advocate.