Natural disasters happen. Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis. The Earth is not static, it is a dynamic unpredictable planet. I have spent my life riding out earthquakes, after living in California and Washington state. I have a degree in Geology. I love watching the Earth reshape itself, in all its subtleties as well as its violence.
The earthquake in Japan and subsequent tsunami was more than I could bear witness to.
I have never really been to Japan. I have wanted to go for most of my life. I wrote a book report in 2nd grade in 1972. It was on the Japanese Tea Ceremony. From that moment on, if anyone ever asked me where I wanted to go, it would be Japan. Japan, Japan, Japan. I made a pronouncement to my friends that for my 40th birthday I was going to finally go to Japan. But I decided to open wall space gallery instead. So still no Japan. In 2009, I was invited to participate in a Photo Festival in Lishui, China. When I was booking my flight, I knew it had to go through Japan for my layover. When I arrived at Narita airport, I begged the customs agents to stamp my passport. They explained that they didn’t have to, but I whined until they did. Crazy American. Still Narita isn’t really like going to Japan. But I saw Mt. Fuji, and I did land and stay on Japanese soil for 3 hours. Close.
Watching the country I have such a deep and abiding love for disappear under a 30 foot wall of water made me weep. I had to do something.
We had raised funds last year after the Haiti earthquake, and I was sure we could do that again.
I had no idea of the response I would have once we started Life Support Japan. I have been humbled by the response of the photographic community once we decided to move forward. 300 artists and counting. Aline Smithson, one of the rocks of our photographic community, has been tireless in helping me organize and communicate with artists, gather information and disseminate it to our artists and donors.
This print program has limited edition prints, only 10 per image, for $50. We are putting up new collections every few days. This is not a short term effort but long term assistance from a global community. Japan has a long road to recovery, and I want to make sure in my own way, and with the help of my community I have the ability to be able to help.
Jennifer Schwartz and Ryan Nabulsi of the Jennifer Schwartz Gallery in Atlanta have organized a silent auction on Saturday night 19 March. Bids are accepted by email, phone and in the gallery. Please support them as you all have supported us.
It is a privilege to be part of this unbelievably generous community. The funds we are raising through Life Support are benefiting two charities, Direct Relief International and Habitat for Humanity Japan. Direct Relief provides medical supplies and services and Habitat will help in the rebuilding efforts.
Direct Relief’s mission statement – Direct Relief International provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and throughout the world. We work to strengthen the in-country health efforts of our partners by providing essential material resources – medicines, supplies and equipment.
It is an honor for me to have a way to give to the country I have loved from afar for coming up on 40 years. I thank everyone who has donated their time and their creativity. Your generosity of spirit fills me with hope that we can help a country recover from this horrible tragedy.