Surviving the Storm: Documenting the Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan on Instagram
Want to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan? Visit the International Red Cross and Red Crescent to learn how you can help.
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the largest tropical storms ever recorded, made landfall in central Philippines on 7 November, resulting in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. An estimated 4 million people have fled their homes—a figure that outnumbers the displaced populations of Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami combined.
Thousands of emergency shelters have been set up, and international relief agencies are working around the clock to provide aid, but parts of the Philippines are still lacking basic supplies, medicine or clean water and food.
Photojournalists, reporters and residents have been documenting the relief efforts on Instagram, capturing the resilience of the Filipino people and the massive job ahead for the survivors and countless volunteers.
See more images by following journalists @jeffcanoy, @dguttenfelder, @jethromullen and @ivancnn.
This photoset shows the untapped potential of using Instagram for visual sociology. Visual sociology refers to sociologists taking photos, or creating other visuals to represent sociological phenomena. It also incorporates photos and visuals that sociologists ask their participants to take as part of their methodology.
These photos are not visual sociology because they have not been taken by sociologists, but they show the importance of documenting significant events as well as everyday life in a visual format.
These photos show a diversity of experience, with ordinary people reproducing their world from their own point of view. Rather than having events selectively documented by journalists, or simply described by the words of outsiders, photos taken by locals open up a new avenue of perception that would otherwise be less accessible without the use of social media.
Follow the #Haiyan hashtag on Instagram and you’ll see various posts documenting the plight of survivors, the devastation and clean up over those who died, and the various efforts to provide shelter, necessities and to rebuild. You’ll see people expressing gratitude over the distribution of humanitarian aid from Government, aid agencies, groups, individuals and international donations such as this school from Washington; volunteers showing their work; and photos of people coping with the disaster in various ways, including young people playing sports.
Visual sociology receives minor attention within our discipline. Having researchers use a visual methodology is a powerful way of illustrating the sociological imagination. More on this soon. In the meantime, you can follow my #VisualSociology series using that hashtag on Instagram.