US photographer to tell city's stories

19:46, Feb 08 2012
peter
DOCUMENTING: Peter Hoffman will record the city's recovery efforts a year after the February 22 earthquake.

A United States freelance photographer is seeking Christchurch stories to help the rest of the world understand what the earthquake-stricken city is still dealing with.

Chicago-based Peter Hoffman will be in Christchurch over the next month to record the city's recovery efforts a year after the February 22 quake killed 184 people and destroyed thousands of buildings.

The 27-year-old photographer will talk to as many residents as possible, asking what had changed for them since the quakes.

"At home it pops up in the news cycle for maybe a day and then it's gone, but I know it's ongoing," he said.

The photo essay would be pitched to media outlets and used for a self-published book.

"I'm not really here to get a sad story or a disaster story," he said.

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"Obviously people will have struggles they want to talk about, but I'm really keen to showcase a resilient spirit . . . and see how people are looking forward more than they're looking behind."

Hoffman lived in Sumner for six months in 2004, when he became "smitten" with Christchurch and photography.

"I'm a photographer because I was here. I just kind of messed around with it before, and when I left I knew I wanted to be a photographer. The landscape inspired me."

He had wanted to return and the quakes had increased that.

"The house I lived in is red-stickered, so driving past that was a bummer."

He had spent a lot of time running around Whitewash Head in Scarborough, which partially collapsed and was cordoned after last February's quake.

"I just really loved that place. I went up there all the time."

Hoffman said the quakes had been a struggle for many people, but most he had talked to so far had just wanted "to get on with things".

"That's really admirable and I think that's something I want represented in the project as well."

He hoped the project would have a "universal appeal" and could help other people struggling with various issues in their lives.

To take part in the project, email peterhoffmanchch@gmail.com.

The Press