Black and white photojournalism by award winning photographer David Lee Longstreath
Imagine an earthquake striking the United States with such force that it kills more than 80,000 people and leaves as many, if not more, homeless. Imagine, too, that all of the hospitals in the area were severely damaged or destroyed, and there were no police, fire fighters or rescue workers. And imagine, if you will, that the 7.6 magnitude quake struck as the school day began and killed hundreds of thousands of children in the falling debris. That was northern Pakistan in October 2005. I was stunned to see the widespread devastation as I and AP reporter Robert Tanner entered the earthquake zone near Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Tanner and I had been assigned as a multimedia team, something new for the AP in the fall of 2005. As a supplement to our spot-news coverage, our job was to find and record slices of life in that destroyed place. We left Islamabad in a taxi and drove straight into the quake zone. Our new multimedia effort was without precedent. The AP had never reported a story in this fashion and each day, Tanner and I winged it. The portion of our reporting that has shadowed me these past 14 years was the family we spent a day with in a mountainous area near the Kashmir capital of Muzaffarabad. Their home was destroyed, forcing them to live in tents. This extended family of three generations coped with the tragedy as best as they could and never cried or whined about their fate. As a matter of fact, I never once saw any of them downbeat about what had happened.
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David Lee Longstreath is a retired wire service photographer with more than 40 years experience on assignments around the world. He currently lives in upcountry Thailand.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org