Documenting earthquake in Nepal through photography and social media

by Marija
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[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ast month a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. It is said that this was the worst natural disaster to strike this country since 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake. The scale of the destruction is shocking to say the least.  So many lives lost, so many homes and buildings of incredible historical value reduced to nothing but rubble.

Two days ago, there was another tremor of 7.3 magnitude. Another blow to the Nepal’s infrastructure. More homes and lives lost. More historical heritage destroyed.

We hear and read so many reports daily coming from Nepal but sometimes the words can’t accurately express what is really happening and what people there are going through. People are visual creatures. We have to see in order to believe and feel. If it wasn’t for the reportage photography and video reports coming from the ground zero, would we really be able to understand the scope of disaster that has befallen this beautiful country? Would the world and humanitarian organizations really be able to reach to our hearts with the same power have we not seen the raw emotion, the loss, the incredulity on the faces of Nepal victims?

No wonder people say, an image is worth a thousand words. The images from Nepal that went into the world will long live out any words that can ever be said or written about this. In this lays the power of photography – to bear witness to what is transpiring in harrowing circumstances like this.

POWER OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Among all the social networks people have on hand, one in particular stands out: Instagram. Why? Because through photography it tells you a story about where the photographer who took the picture is, what is happening around him. In this particular case, a photo on Instagram tells you an emotional story about loss, destruction, death and recovery efforts in Nepal than no social media update can ever sum up in 120 characters.

For that reason, several photographers from Nepal and India have come together and started an Instagram page in order to give context to the impact of devastating earthquake in Nepal. They are documenting the tragedy under the hashtag #nepalphotoproject. This page features a compilation of some of the most iconic images taken by people who witnessed the devastation. Their pictures speak tons about the loss of more than 7,000 lives.

The goal with Nepal Photo Project is to put out as much useful and helpful information as possible. The main parameter for what they post is quite simple: photographs that communicate something purposeful or meaningful — be it the damage and devastation, links to reliable fundraising campaigns, photographs of missing people so they can be circulated as widely as possible, coverage of rescue and relief operations, citizen volunteer initiatives, links to resources like quakemap.org, [or] other relevant articles and images.

This social media tool is now a driving force behind reaching out to people like you and me who would be willing to donate and support Nepal’s recovery.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

While the group’s Instagram feed is dedicated to the visual representation of the crisis, the Facebook group they also started has become the nerve center where calls for volunteers and missing-person notices are issued.

Photography combined with social media has so much power, and this is the clear example of how it can move the people to help and drive the change.

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