This is the video that breaks my heart. This was the most destruction I saw of all the earthquake. The earthquake left much standing. The ocean was merciless. And these people, in this secluded town, did not receive any governmental help until Thursday – a load of clothing and food. They had 5 days of questioning why no one came.
This is the video that makes me curse the 24-hour news cycle. I understand the cycle. I understand the attention span. We want to know now what is happening, and once we’ve gathered sufficient information, we move onto another theme. I do it. I am incredibly and shamefully decisive with my attention span. I couldn’t tell you how much time I spent on the Haiti earthquake, which in terms of loss of life and, likely, destruction, was far graver. I don’t remember reading more then one story about the earthquake last year in China.
That said, that this video’s viewership will be appallingly low as here and on Nacho’s website are the only places it is published, this breaks my heart. The reason for this is that by the time the video was done and seen, nearly a week had passed since the earthquake. We shot it on Tuesday and Wednesday after the quake. It was an incredible turnaround. Nevertheless, the public’s appetite had been sated by the instant broadcast world.
Photojournalism, documentary photojournalism, visual journalism, is an incredibly invasive form of journalism. It requires absolute entrance into another’s life. If I don’t have something on tape or compact flash, it doesn’t exist. In general, I am surpassingly respectful of other people’s privacy. For me, the reason I am able and willing to intrude upon another’s life, so to speak, is that the topic matter is that important. Their story needs to be seen. People are willing to let us journalists into their lives, because the idea is that telling their story will help change the situation. In a situation like this, it may help bring aid. These people very much need aid. In not getting their story told, I feel I am betraying my part of the bargain.
But you are seeing it. That is a start. You will know that among the large cities that the earthquake brought low, too, there was a tiny seaside hamlet by the name of Perales that the ocean came and washed away. You will witness one man’s grief as he sees his destroyed house for the very first time. You will see the woman who fled from the waves without shoes. And you will meet the old man who calls his survival the greatest miracle of his life.