Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Alabama Tornadoes

The day after a deadly tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I packed my gear and drove down to Alabama with my good friend Daniel Houghton to cover the aftermath. I was blessed to shoot for The New York Times for three days in Northern and Central Alabama. With so many talented photojournalists working in Tuscaloosa we decided to stick to areas that weren't receiving as much attention from national media outlets. I was overwhelmed with the hope and resilience of the tornado vicitims that I photographed. Almost all of them went out of their to way thank me for telling their story and offer some form of hospitality. One family literally dragged me to the front porch of their destroyed home and wouldn't let me leave until I had eaten some of their food. The weekend in Alabama was incredible and humbling, and my prayers will be with the South as they rebuild in the coming months.

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Sheets hang in tornado ravaged trees at sunset in a farming community along Bridgeforth Road near Tanner, Ala. on on Friday, April 30, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)

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Zackary Lacy and Jordan Anderson climb through the rubble of the destroyed Lakeview Methodist church which lay along the path of a tornado that swept through the community of Tanner, Ala. on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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Michael Chapman, 34, and his brother Mitch Lee sort through Chapman's belongings strewn in his backyard in Pleasant Grove, Ala. on Sunday, May 1, 2011 four days after tornados tore through central Alabama, killing hundreds on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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A reclining chair sits in a debris field of trees ravaged by a tornado that passed through Tanner, Ala. on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 on Bridgeforth Road. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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The remains of a gas station are seen in Arab, Ala. on Friday, April 30, 2011 after a tornado tore through central Alabama on Wednesday. Gas shortages have hit central Alabama, leaving motorists waiting in line for hours at some pumps. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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A resident of the rural farming community on Bridgeforth Road in Tanner, Ala., sits in her driveway after a day of cleanup efforts  Saturday, April 30, 2011. A tornado severely damaged the rural farming community after passing through on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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Pews sit exposed to the elements inside the destroyed Lakeview Methodist church which lay along the path of a tornado that swept through the community of Tanner, Ala. on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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A woman sleeps in a Red Cross shelter in the Boutwell Municipal Auditorium in downtown Birmingham, Ala. on the Sunday, May 1, 2011 four days after tornados tour through central Alabama, killing hundreds on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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Wretha Long, 53, of Birmingham is given a sandwich by Red Cross volunteer Beverly Russell in the Red Cross shelter in the Boutwell Municipal Auditorium in downtown Birmingham, Ala. on Sunday, May 1, 2011. Long, who lived with her daughter in the hard-hit neighborhood of Pleasant Grove, was released from the hospital after heart surgery but had nowhere to go because her daughters house was destroyed by the tornado on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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John Lane, 54, of Athens, Ala. sifts through debris in the home of John Henry Bridgeforth's house during cleanup efforts on Bridgeforth Road in Tanner, Ala., Saturday, April 30, 2011.  A tornado severely damaged the rural farming community after passing through on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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The home of Michael Chapman, 34, of Pleasant Grove, Ala. is seen on Sunday, May 1, 2011 with spray painted markings communicating their insurance providor and favorite Alabama sports team four days after tornados tore through central Alabama, killing hundreds on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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Handyman Edward McColley, 53, carries a lighting fixture from a destroyed house into a shipping container on Bridgeforth Road in Tanner, Ala., Friday, April 29, 2011. A tornado swept through the community on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 as Alabama was ravaged with tornadic weather. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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A pickup truck thrown by a tornado rests in the Sunset Swim Club near the Clem Mobile Home Park in Athens, Ala., Saturday, April 30th, 2011. The area was devastated by a tornado during a severe weather outbreak in Central Alabama on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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A baby pool is filled with debris after a tornado passed through the Sunset Swim Club near the Clem Mobile Home Park in Athens, Ala., Saturday, April 30th, 2011. The area was devastated by a tornado during a severe weather outbreak in Central Alabama on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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Volunteer construction worker Norman Webb Jr. grabs a cheeseburger from Artemio Perez of the Madison Baptist Church of Madison, Ala. at the Clem Mobile Home Park in Athens, Ala., Saturday, April 30th, 2011. The trailer park was devastated by a tornado during a severe weather outbreak in Central Alabama on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times) 
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(From left) Ryan and Tanner DeThomas of Atlanta, Ga. clear debris away from Shaler Whiteside's rental house in the community of Caldwell, Ala. on Route 431 East of Glencoe, Ala., Saturday, April 30th, 2011. The community was hard hit by one of the many tornados that tore through central Alabama on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
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Twelfth street in Pleasant Grove, Ala. is seen on Sunday, May 1, 2011 four days after a tornado tore through the town, April 27, 2011. (Luke Sharrett for The New York Times)
Thanks for looking!
**Photos copyright Luke Sharrett and The New York Times**

2 comments:

JonnyUps said...

Heart breaking on tv...even harder to see when your friend is the one providing the images. Many prayers to the people affected by all of this.

bermanphotos said...

Incredible work Luke.