Of all the items that can be destroyed in a disaster, few are as valuable or hard to replace as family photo collections. Photographer Brian Peterson saw that first-hand while living and working in Japan two years ago, when an earthquake and even more devastating tsunami swept away everything many families owned.
Sensing that photography could be a way to help them heal, Peterson started the organization Photohoku (named for the Tohoku region devastated by the tsunami) to help families rebuild their photo albums.
Once a month, Peterson and other professional photographers travelled to the tsunami zone to do portrait sessions with families who had lost all their photos. Peterson used instant film to ensure families immediately had prints to fill the first few pages of a photo album.
The work brought a lot of smiles, along with something deeper. “We have seen with tsunami-affected families in Japan how this effort has had a positive emotional and psychological impact in providing a way for people affected by disaster to move forward,” Peterson says on the project website.
Now Peterson has turned his attention to his native Oklahoma, to help families who lost everything last May in a devastating series of tornado strikes. The photographer and colleagues landed in Tulsa a few weeks ago, and plan to conduct a series of photo sessions and photography workshops.
Peterson hopes to continue expanding the project to other areas in need, and he’s taking monetary donations as well as any used (but still functional) digital cameras you might want to send the project to help get there.
If you want to find out more, or you’d like to make a donation and help Peterson’s cause, head over to the Photohoku website by clicking here.
(via Tulsa World)
Image credits: Photographs courtesy of Photohoku.