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Picture this: Photog to offer free portraits for Sandy victims

Photographer Rob Loud will set up a makeshift

Photographer Rob Loud will set up a makeshift photo studio in a restaurant in Long Beach's hard-hit West End and offer to shoot portraits of Sandy victims for free. (Dec. 2, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Rob Loud saw images of floodwaters washing over his former home of Long Beach during superstorm Sandy and thought of all the families that lost a lifetime of photographs that can never be replaced.

So Loud, a photographer now based in Brooklyn, decided to help those families start over. On Sunday, he will set up a makeshift photo studio in a restaurant in Long Beach's hard-hit West End and offer to shoot portraits of Sandy victims for free.

Loud, 33, a Floral Park native who lived in Long Beach from 2009 to April 2012 and now lives in Clinton Hill, said the portraits are his way of giving back to his former home.

"Right now, the last thing they are thinking of is family pictures. They are thinking of getting their house and their lives back together," Loud said. "It's something a lot of people take for granted."

Loud's team will work out of Blue Point, a restaurant at 1148 West Beech St., starting at 10 a.m. He said he plans to spend about 15 minutes with each subject and work until the last family has been photographed.

Subjects will receive a 4x6 photograph after the session, and later will be able to download the rest of the images from a website, Loud said. The website will allow the subjects to order one 8x10 photo for free, he said.

Loud, a graduate of Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale and Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is an independent photographer who shoots celebrities, fashion and music events and sports. His subjects have included Carmen Electra, John McEnroe and Val Kilmer, and he has worked as an official photographer for U.S. Open tennis.

He also has performed charitable work, such as a photography project with the Manhattan-based Urban Justice Center that offers portrait photography to people who can't afford it.

Atossa Movahedi, an attorney with the Urban Justice Center who is working with Loud on that project, said the photos will have a healing effect for Long Beach's Sandy victims.

"There are certain things you can't replace -- memories you can't replace, photos you can't replace," she said. "This is a good way to reach out to those people."

Jack Schnirman, Long Beach's city manager, said the city supports Loud's work.

"The silver lining of the storm is that people have come together to do great things for one another," Schnirman said. "This is another one of those things."

Loud's Brooklyn apartment did not suffer damage during Sandy, but several Long Beach friends lost homes and cars. A Long Beach house he lived in was destroyed and his grandparents in Floral Park lost power for 10 days.

He said anyone is welcome at his portrait event on Sunday.

"The idea is that people lost photos, but I'm not going to make them prove to me that they lost photos," he said. "I'm certainly not going to turn people away."

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