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William Coupon July 25, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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Chicklet Lady. Jacmel, Haiti 1979

William Coupon (b. 1952, USA) became interested in formal studio portraits in 1979 while observing the lower Manhattan youth and decided early on to use a single-light source and simple mottled backdrop as a studio style. This was then used to document specific global cultures and sub-cultures. Many of the projects – referred to as “Social Studies” – became documents of indigenous people. These include projects on Haiti, Australian Aboriginals, Native Americans, Israeli Druzim, Moroccan Berbers, Spanish Gypsies, Turkish Kurds, among others. These projects also included Death Row Inmates, Drag Queens, and Cowboys. Stylistically, they were always photographed formally on a drop and environmentally with a 2 1/4 Rolleiflex. In addition to his personal images William has worked extensively in commercial photography and film with over 20 Time Magazine covers – including portraits of all the Presidents since Richard Nixon. He has also completed major advertising campaigns for Nike, FedEx, Ford, Japan Airlines, Apple Computer and many others.

About the Photograph:

“The portrait of this woman, carrying boxes of Chicklets on her head took place in the seaside town of Jacmel, Haiti. I had decided to take a trip to Haiti rather spontaneously with my girlfriend, who I’d met at the Mudd Club in lower Manhattan. Having just finished a series of Punk portraits in New York at the time, Haiti seemed like a refreshing destination. Or so it seemed. It was intensely poor and ‘more African than Africa.’ I felt as much a novelty to them as they did to me. Haiti ~ the land of voodoo and the first black republic in the western hemisphere. I arrived in Jacmel and found my way around the main marketplace, spoke with a shopkeeper and convinced him to let me shoot there the following day. I would be giving everyone an SX-70 Polaroid and 2 gourds ~ the equivalent of 40 cents. The scene was bedlam. There were lines around the corner. I photographed the subjects against my hotel room’s bedspread ~ I did not have my mottled backdrop.  I kept up the sessions until my money ran out. I probably met and photographed over 100 people that day, with many more potential subjects eager to lend their faces to me. This lady, with the Chicklet boxes, is one of my favorites that day.”

Shannon Taggart March 7, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti, United States.
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Haitian Vodou Ceremony, Brooklyn, New York 2009

Shannon Taggart (b.1975, USA) is a photographer based in Brooklyn. Her images have appeared in publications including Blind Spot, Time, Tokion, New York Times Magazine and Newsweek. Shannon’s work has been recognized by the Inge Morath Foundation, American Photography, the International Photography Awards, Photo District News and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, among others. Her photographs have been shown at Photoworks in Brighton, England, The Photographic Resource Center in Boston, Redux Pictures in New York, the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles and the New Gallery in Houston.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of a long term project about Haitian Vodou ceremonies that happen in a basement Hounfor (temple) in Brooklyn, NY. The host is Rose Marie Pierre, a third generation Mambo originally from Haiti. It was the first night that I witnessed a possession, the centerpiece of Vodou ritual. Possession may look frightening but it is actually a meaningful, sought after experience. The purpose of possession is to allow a personal interaction with the Loa, a pantheon of gods that are archetypal representatives of natural/moral principles. Possession is not an opportunity for self-expression, it is a blessing and a reward for service. It is also a gift one gives of themselves to their community so that others may consult the Loa for intercession, guidance and healing. The analogy used for possession is as if one’s body is being mounted like a horse, with the Loa as the rider. One cannot be man and god at once, so the individual needs to surrender their ego to the experience. A temporary amnesia then takes place and the events that occur remain a mystery to the person possessed.”

Lexey Swall October 22, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Ville-Bonheur, Haiti, 2010

Lexey Swall (b. 1977, USA) has been a photojournalist for the past ten years. She recently quit her staff job at the Naples (Fla.) Daily News to form GRAIN, a photography collective, with fellow documentary photographers, Greg Kahn and Tristan Spinski. Lexey grew up in Bakersfield, California, an oil and agriculture town at the bottom of the San Joaquin Valley known for country music and dust storms. She studied photojournalism and women’s studies at San Jose State University. She has garnered awards from POYi and NPPA Best of Photojournalism competitions, including an honorable mention for the 2006 Photographer of the Year (small markets) in BOP.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken in July 2010 during the annual pilgrimage to Saut d’Eau in Ville-Bonheur, Haiti. It was seven months after the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people and left about one million Haitians homeless. Every year, Haitians flock to Saut d’Eau to be blessed under the sacred waterfall and worship in the town church. The church was filled to capacity during each of the Catholic masses held throughout this particular day. I was waiting to enter the church – crushed between dozens of people behind me pushing to try to enter and hundreds who were trying to exit. The police tried to control the flow through the doors so no one was injured. I had other images that I shot while holding my camera above my head to try to show the density of crowd. But, this image, to me, feels more like I felt in that moment. It was cramped. There was no such thing as personal space. I can’t count how many photos I’ve seen come out of Haiti where people are in lines pushing against one another. I finally understood what it felt like to be in that situation. I didn’t know at the time that the man in this photo looked at me when I photographed him. But, when I saw it later, I felt it made this photo even more authentic to the moment. There is an intimacy with making eye contact.”

Jake Price Video with Orion Magazine September 24, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti, Jordan, Uganda, Video.
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While corresponding with Jake for his up-and-coming profile on Verve Photo he included this link in one of the emails. I’ve seen many similar type of multimedia pieces, but this one is particularly well done and it resonated for me, especially his reasons for being involved in these three very different projects.

Michelle Frankfurter May 12, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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National Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 1994

Michelle Frankfurter (b.1961, Israel resides USA) graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in English. She spent three years as a staff photographer for the The Herald – Journal and Post Standard in Syracuse, New York. Before settling in the Washington, DC area, Frankfurter spent three years living in Nicaragua where she worked as a stringer for Reuters and with the human rights organization Witness For Peace documenting the effects of the contra war on civilians. In 1995, a long-term project on Haiti earned her two World Press Photo awards. She has worked for a number of editorial publications, including The Guardian of London, The Washington Post Magazine, Ms., Time, and Life Magazine. Her personal documentary work has been featured in exhibits at the Arlington Arts Center, The Washington Project For the Arts and the Ellipse Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photograph during a funeral service in Haiti’s National Cemetery in Port-au-Prince. The sprawling cemetery in Haiti’s capital city lies at sea level; therefore, the tombstones are raised above ground. Nevertheless, because Haiti is so heavily deforested, flash floods occurring during the rainy season send water cascading from the hills where it rushes through the cemetery, often flushing out caskets along with their human remains. Although I was present in Haiti during one of its many tumultuous periods of political unrest, when violent killings were a nearly daily event, this particular funeral was unrelated to the then current state of conflict. Nonetheless, death and funerals are never ending in Haiti. I had taken several photographs showing the larger overall scene: a group of about fifty mourners perched like a flock of solemn birds amid a landscape of raised tombstones. I eliminated most of the literal context of the image; the tight perspective resulted in an ambiguous photograph.”

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Allison Shelley April 5, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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Church of the Immaculate Conception. Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2010.

Allison Shelley (b. 1972, USA) is a freelance photographer based in Washington D.C.  Most recently a staff photographer at the Washington Times newspaper, she is now represented by Polaris Images and covers the White House, Capitol Hill and international humanitarian issues.  Assignments have taken her from the research stations of Antarctica to the U.S. Presidential campaign trail. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Rolling Stone and TIME.  She has received numerous awards from the White House News Photographers Association and National Press Photographers Association and is co-founder and co-director of the Women Photojournalists of Washington.  Allison is in Haiti until mid-April working on a project about child amputees.

About the Photograph:

“Even more than a month after the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti, it seemed that everywhere I walked in the city I stumbled onto a church service.  Far from ceasing operations after being flattened, churches were inundated with worshipers, who knelt outside among the rubble to be led in prayer.  At this particular service, outside of a Catholic chapel on the grounds of the General Hospital complex in downtown Port-au-Prince, this woman made a particularly tragic impression on me.  Elderly, alone, but in a perfectly pressed summer dress.  I could imagine how hard the tile must have felt on her knees and how difficult it probably was for her to keep her bandages clean.”

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Christian Cravo June 3, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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Trance, Sodo Waterfall, Haiti

Christian Cravo (b.1974, Brazil) was brought up in an artistic environment in the Brazilian city of Salvador, Bahia. His photographs have been exhibited at the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia, the Throckmorton Fine Arts  Gallery, New York, Leica Gallery, and in group shows at SF Camera Works , the Witkin Gallery and the Houston Foto Fest. He has received awards from the Mother Jones Photo Fund for Documentary Photography, a scholarship from the Vitae Foundation and a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship for his research on the Brazilian northeast. His first book “Irredentos” was published in 2000 and in 2005 his second book “Roma noire, ville métisse” was published in Paris by Autrement.

About the Photograph:

“A woman supposedly in a trance at the Sodo waterfall in the central highlands where pilgrims gather in a yearly ceremony to honor African divinities and Gods. This image is part of a larger project called In the Gardens of Eden. As a photographer, I seek to understand people through the images that arise in the course of my journey. I make my eye an instrument that tells a story that is, above all human. In this regard, I see Haiti as the supreme expression of the human essence. This is a society with very unique characteristics – intensely spiritual, replete with symbolism, in which people show their lack of prudishness through the purest of elements.”

David Zentz January 16, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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Bord de Mer de Limonade, Haiti

David Zentz (b.1978, American) is a photojournalist based in Los Angeles, California. Following his master’s in mass communications at the University of Florida in 2005, David completed internships at a number of newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times, before landing a full-time position at the Journal Star in Peoria, Illinois in 2006. In 2008 he left newspapers and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a freelance career.  He has completed numerous projects, both domestically and abroad, on subjects ranging from mental health issues among Peoria’s chronically homeless population to the hip-hop culture in Haiti. His work has been recognized by CPOY, the Southern Short Course and the NPPA.

About the Photograph:

A man bathes in the Atlantic Ocean near Bord de Mer de Limonade on the northern coast of Haiti as a boat of men row a sailboat across the horizon, likely on their way to a fishing spot. I spent a couple weeks this past summer traveling in Haiti to document several of the annual Voodou festivals that take place each summer across the Caribbean island nation. One of them, where this image was made, was a sunrise ritual during which pilgrims who have come from across the country bath in the sea at Bord de Mer de Limonade. However, this image, for me, stands apart from the rest of the photos taken that day because it is less about the ritual than it is about the Haitian people’s relationship with the water that surrounds them.

Benjamin Lowy March 25, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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lowey_hati.jpg
Revolution in Haiti, 2004

Benjamin Lowy (b 1979) is currently covering the Iraq war, the same place he began his career in 2003. Since then he has worked on major stories in Afghanistan, Haiti, Indonesia, Libya, Darfur, Vietnam and India. The list goes on… His photographs from Iraq were chosen by PDN as some of the most iconic of the 21st century.

A recent contributor to the VII Photo Agency Network, Lowy’s work is visually daring. He is a photographer’s photographer. In revisiting his extensive web site I was struck by the energy of his images. He is constantly pushing the limit and approaching his subjects in new ways.

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