I don’t consider myself a photojournalist, I would much rather control the scene that I’m working in and create my own visual reality. Earlier this week (March 18, 2014), a fire destroyed a Recycling Plant in my neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I think this was a perfect example of working in a situation that I couldn’t control; What else could I do, but grab my camera and head on over to the scene.
The fire started at about 7:00PM. My wife and I were driving through the Midtown Tunnel at about 7:30PM and when we came out of the tunnel, saw this huge plume of black smoke. My first reaction was to say “Oh my god, I hope it’s not our place.” I ran home, grabbed my camera and rushed to the fire.
While I was there photographing the scene, a young girl came up to me crying and asked to borrow my cell phone. Her dad worked in the recycling plant and she couldn’t find him. She found him, and thankfully no one got hurt. I’ve always realized just how important photography is to capturing our history, especially since losing my grandfather a couple weeks ago. This, however, put it all into perspective. This fire wasn’t about the fire, it was about the people. The heros that put their lives on the line every day to protect us.
After meeting this young girl, I changed the focus of my eye from photographing the fire to capturing imagery of the people.
Kevin Michael Reed is a theatre maker from New York City living in Dublin and London. His production credits have included producer, director, playwright, dramaturg and designer. He is Artistic Director of Squire Lane Theatrical UK, a theatre production company specialising in developing new works for the stage. He holds a BFA in Photography from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY), a MA in Playwriting from City, University of London, and a MFA in Theatre Directing from The Lir, National Academy of Dramatic Art, Trinity College Dublin.