Hurricane Sandy was a terrible disaster that devastated parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US during late October. In addition to hundreds dead, it’s estimated that losses due to damage and business interruption are around $65 billion. That’s more than unfortunate, it’s a tragedy of epic proportions.
But out of good can come bad, and human resilience to natural fiascos is always inspiring to watch. So, it was with extreme delight that I discovered on The Khooll that photographer Stephen Wilkes (known for his series of abandoned structures) decided to team up with TIME photo editors to offer limited edition prints of an outrageous photo that captures the odd beauty in the ugly. He’s putting up a print for sale of the Star Jet roller coaster in the ocean. It may seem crazy to be romanticizing the hurricane’s damage in such a way, but, as Ansel Adams said, “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”
As Wilkes himself explains, the photo is surreal, a sort of warning from a different world,
There are moments in journalism when the media captures the visual details of a disaster, yet sometimes misses the true scale of devastation. It was with that in mind that on Sunday, November 4th, I flew in a helicopter over a number of the most devastated areas hit by Superstorm Sandy. Specifically, the devastation in and around Seaside Heights, NJ, and in particular The Star Jet roller coaster at Casino Pier, which was now resting in the Atlantic Ocean. As I flew over the area, the ocean appeared dead calm; there were no waves, the water looked as if I was in the Caribbean, not the Atlantic. That contrast in itself was surreal to experience, yet as we left the devastation below, I was reminded of the iconic image in the film Planet of The Apes. Charlton Heston, riding horseback along a deserted shoreline, suddenly sees a charred structure rising out of the water, the torch of the Statue of Liberty. In a strange way this image shares a parallel universe, perhaps a warning from post-apocalyptic Earth.