The Unexpected And Accidental Beauty Of Photographs Damaged By Hurricane Sandy

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Photographer Randy Taylor had around 40 years of work archived in a storage facility that he wasn’t allowed access to until weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit. He was aware of the possibility that his work might be damaged, but wasn’t prepared for what he encountered when he arrived at the storage unit. “I descended into the smelly, wet, and dark bowels of the powerless building, which had flooded floor-to-ceiling with contaminated water,” Taylor said via email. “What I found was a jumbled, gooey mess of papers and things 3 to 8 feet high. It took the first day to carve out a vertical space just 2 feet into the unit, so I could merely walk in the door.”

Taylor tried to salvage as much as he could, but the damage and mold was so intense, that he was only able to recoup a few dozen images out of around 30,000 he had in storage. The photographs he selected weren’t based on any method; he just wanted to save as many as possible. After he selected his photographs, he dipped them in an alcohol solution to clean off the mold and stave off further destruction, though the damage has already been done, and will likely worsen with time.

Despite the sad loss of professional and family photographs, photography equipment, computers, and financial records, Taylor is heartened by the attention his Hurricane Sandy photographs are now receiving.” It’s been satisfying to have my images noticed again. Thanks to Sandy, they are truly unique.” ( via juxtapoz and slate)

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