Portraits of volunteers restoring storm damaged homes
Faces of Hope is an on going portrait project photographing volunteers working to restore homes effected by Super Storm Sandy. The volunteer groups are organized and coordinated by several nonprofits. These volunteers travel to New Jersey from all parts of the United States. They typically donate a week of time to help support the relief effort.
The project began while I was walking through downtown Highlands NJ. I had noticed five large passenger vans with Missouri license plates. It immediately occurred to me that these vans had carried a large group of volunteers to my hometown to help those affected by the storm. I soon found myself talking with several of the volunteers. I was so taken with their generosity and kindness that I decide right there on the spot that I wanted to document the volunteers in a series of portraits. Faces of Hope’s focus is to honor the volunteers that have brought hope to so many who have experienced loss and hardship. The portraits will be a reminder of all the help received by those in need.
Whenever groups were willing to participate in the portrait project I would set up an temporary studio at their location, a converted United Methodist Church on Bay Avenue in Highlands New Jersey. I had limited time to photograph them. They were here to restore homes. I kept the pace and the mood upbeat. Though most were tired from their work, they had a certain energy from the good work they were doing that is evident in the portraits.
Paul Guba Photography has made a three-year commitment to create portraits of volunteer groups when possible. The project is currently two years old. It is my hope to continue to photograph those willing to participate over the next year.