As photographers, the tragedy in Japan touches us all. Here is what you can do to help.
A letter from Popular Photography Editor, Miriam Leuchter:
Time stood still, and the Earth was knocked off its axis. That’s what seismologists are saying about the powerful earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan on March 11. Though they mean it literally, for us at Popular Photography it describes the way we feel.
Our staff was preparing the May issue of the magazine for press when we learned of the earthquake and the tsunami that followed. And we remained transfixed in the days that followed as Japan’s nuclear crisis unfolded. A catastrophe on this scale stirs everyone’s emotions, but I think that photographers feel a special bond of fellowship with this nation that over the past 50 years has become the cradle of photo technology.
At Pop Photo, those bonds are both personal and professional: We have a number of friends and business associates who live, work, or have family and colleagues in Japan, and our immediate concern was for their safety. Nikon’s pro DSLR plant is in Sendai, the port city close to the earthquake’s epicenter and the first place from which we saw photos and video of the tsunami’s lethal force; Ricoh has a research and development facility there. But our alarm quickly became more general, especially as workers struggled to contain radiation from the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima.
The printed version column had to be finished before we could get full reports on the extent of the devastation, yet the impact on the Japanese people and the peril they find themselves in seemed clear. And their need for assistance will doubtless continue for a long time.
That’s why, on behalf of all of us at Popular Photography, I urge you to contribute whatever you can to humanitarian aid efforts in Japan. Plenty of multinational organizations are working with local groups to provide immediate relief and long-term reconstruction. Here are some reputable nonprofits you might consider, as well as some initiatives from the photography community:
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world’s largest humanitarian aid organization. Its website has a donation page that benefits the Japanese Red Cross Society in responding to this disaster.
- Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières is providing medical consultations in evacuation centers in Minami Sanriku and other on-the-ground assistance. At the time of this writing, the group was not accepting earmarked donations for Japan, instead drawing on unrestricted donations to fund its efforts there.
- Several galleries are teaming up with photographers to raise money for Japan through print sales. Seattle-based Wall Space Gallery is hosting “life support japan 1” to benefit Direct Relief International and Habitat for Humanity’s work in Japan. New York-based 20x200 is selling limited-edition prints to benefit Japan Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.
In addition, Google has a really useful Crisis Response page that lets you donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society, International Medical Corps, Unicef, and other big relief agencies. It also offers a wealth of helpful resources, including a Person Finder, links to news alerts and information, and an experimental Android app to translate Japanese speech into English.
Also, feel free to post links to other fundraising efforts and events you've heard about in the comments section below: