A yellow house with nearly half the structure missing. A boardwalk and ride torn from the ground it sat on. These are some of the photos that have been nominated for a CNN iReport award.
Two weeks following Sandy, Clifford and Susan Rumpf of Little Falls ventured to the Jersey Shore to begin a lengthy process of documenting the devastation.
After taking thousands of photos from Union Beach to Atlantic City, the couple has been nominated for a CNN iReport award in the category of Compelling Imagery.
A CNN panel selected 36 citizen journalists out of almost 11,000 iReports published in 2012. There are six categories including breaking news, original reporting, compelling imagery, commentary, personal story and in-depth storytelling.
“We thought it would be important to document what was going on,” Susan Rumpf said. “We had no idea the competition existed.”
Clifford and Susan Rumpf are the only nominee representing the devastation of Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey. The public can vote for their favorite iReport by clicking here.
The couple owns a design company and decided to use their photography skills to document the aftermath of the superstorm, she said.
Clifford Rumpf, who grew up in Pompton Lakes, is all too familiar with floodwaters. Although his home didn’t take on water, friends and neighbors did over the years.
“He knows the struggles a lot of people have gone through,” she said.
Photographing the damage after Sandy was “hard” and “sad,” she said. They also interviewed survivors and witnessed families removing soiled items from their homes.
“It was one of those things that seemed surreal,” she said. “You can’t even imagine the devastation these people must feel.”
The amount of devastation was “unbelievable,” and mostly, people only see the damage from the outside.
“We got to really see things that you don’t get to see just by reading the newspaper,” she said.
The Rumpf’s used social media primarily to share their photos to start. They were looking for a better way to raise awareness and came across CNN iReport, a compilation of news items submitted by citizen journalists. Approximately one month ago, Clifford and Susan Rumpf were notified of the nomination.
The scenes the couple captured were worse than the images initially shown by media organizations and helicopter fly-overs, Clifford Rumf said.
“We want to raise public awareness and hope the coverage will help the victims,” he said.
But people are now growing tired of devastation pictures, he said. He recently tried to capture shots of rebuilding from Seaside to Sandy Hooks but there are few and far between.
“Mantoloking looks like it was hit yesterday,” he said. “It’s just been some story.”
Clifford and Susan Rumpf reflected on a police ride along through Ortley and Seaside. Blocks of homes were gone and there was total silence with the exception of the waves crashing and smoke detectors beeping, he said. The scene was “eerie.”
“It sometimes doesn’t even feel real. Maybe in some time it’ll sink in but it hasn’t,” Clifford Rumpf said of his experience since Sandy, adding that it’s “great” to get the word out. He hopes his past and continued documentation will ensure New Jersey is not forgotten and encourages people to support the shore.
The public has until Monday, May 6 to vote. Voters can choose from any of the 36 nominees in six categories once every 24 hours. The iReport with the most votes will receive the Community Choice Award.
More iReports by Clifford and Susan Rumpf can be found at the following links: