Friday, September 02, 2005

Urgent Call to Photograph Katrina Victims

Hi everyone,

Many people have been asking me how they can use their Internet skills to help out with hurricane victims. I've been asking bloggers to blog. Now I'd like to ask photographers to photograph -- and help reunite victims with their families.

I'd like to ask anyone of you who are able to go to an evacuation shelter to go there ASAP and start photographing people with a digital camera. Collect their name, physical description, names of people they are trying to reach, their location and contact information. Similarly, if you're able to get access to a bulletin board of photos of the missing, photograph them individually and collect whatever data is available. We should also do the same for online photo collections of the missing that are scattered around the Internet.

Once you have all of this, upload it to Flickr is a free photo sharing tool with very powerful aggregating tools. If you're not a member, go to the site and you'll have your account set up in just a few moments.

When you upload photos, you can give them "tags" - keywords associated with that photo. Tags are very, very powerful tools for pooling photos together. I've been using them on Katrina Aftermath to display photos tagged with words like hurricane and neworleans.

Photos should be tagged one of three ways:

katrinamissing: persons who are missing

katrinafound: persons who were once missing but are now found

katrinaokay: persons who are safe in shelters and are trying to reach friends and family.

When you post your photos, please include the tag in the title, such as

KatrinaMissing: John Smith
KatrinaOkay: Jane Smith

That way, their status and name will appear in the RSS feed's title tag. Then include all data you have about the person in the description of the photo. Don't skimp on information - include everything you can.

Once people start posting photos, we'll be able to find them here:

There are also RSS feeds located on each of these pages. We can then use these RSS feeds to aggregate the collections and distribute them to Red Cross field offices, the Astrodome (there will be an Internet lab there soon), etc. I will start aggregating them on Katrina Aftermath and will share the javascript so others can do the same once it's up and running.

So let's get out our cameras and step up to the plate. Let's help in whatever way we can. -andy