On Dec. 26, 2004, water rushed into the city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Many thought the looming grey background was the overcast sky until the series of several large waves engulfed the city as high as four stories.
and my work was also highlighted on photographer Ed Kashi's blog, who mentored me a few years ago and has seen my work develop. Ed's constant reminder to follow stories that I care about has resonated with me for many years, especially through the tough times when I was not progressing visually. His incredible work on photojournalism and storytelling on the effects of politics, whether through health care or natural resources can all be seen on his website and stories throughout National Geographic.
The people of Banda Aceh never knew what a "normal" life was previous to the 2004 tsunami, which killed about 160,000 people in the Aceh Province of Indonesia. They lived with 30 years of war in a politically unstable region. With the help of hundreds of international aid organizations, the entire city and surrounding villages were rebuilt, leaving residents to continue on without them with the daily buzz of motorbikes and the call to prayer. And without political strife due to the signing of the 2005 Helsinki peace accords between the Indonesian military and the rebel army of the Free Aceh Movement.