A photo book of AHDH at the Hospital St. Joseph in LaVallée de Jacmel, Haiti – a visual story of a medical team of doctors, nurses, and volunteers

Hospital St. Joseph

This was my first image of the Hospital St. Joseph on my first mission.

I am working on another Photo Book—this one will be all about the doctors and nurses and volunteers who were a part of AHDH, Inc. during the time I traveled with them. I’m starting in the beginning and choosing the most powerful images I have—when the hardest part of the Mission was the drive up to Ridoré. This will be difficult for me because I have so many beautiful images of everyone. As a documentary photographer I documented everything I saw and I was everywhere all day long. I focused mostly on the doctors and nurses in the beginning—mostly because they worked so hard at what they do best. There were times they worked through dinner into the night and when they finally got to their room there might not be electricity or water for a shower. And they did not complain. Yes, they are all my heroes and I am a witness to their every move.

I’m adding a few images that are in the book file. I will try to keep you updated as I work on the book.

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This was our Airport in Jacmel it was beautiful!

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This is where we drove across the river there was no bridge, for years no one was able to build a bridge that could withstand the weather.

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This was the turn in to Ridoré, its all paved now but this is what I saw on my first visit—I call this image The Parking Lot. I had never seen donkeys standing this way before and it looked like a parking lot!

market day

This image was right up the hill and its all paved now.

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This image is at the top of the hill, the Market is around the corner to the right. This is all paved now and looks so different.

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This was a fun evening at the AuBerge Hotel. I must have put my camera on a tripod because I’m in the image too.

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A visual story of Life and Culture by the young photographers of LaVallée de Jacmel

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 5.46.33 PM copyhttp://www.blurb.com/b/8612658  this link will take you to the Publisher of the Book, you can get a short preview and you can purchase one or more of the Books.

Working on this book was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Picking and choosing trying to decide was difficult. I wanted to put all of their images in the book but it would have weighed a ton and cost a small fortune! While editing through the pictures, I was there in my heart in Ridoré with my students. I knew I was very fond of all those kids but I didn’t realize how very much I loved them until I had to begin editing through hundreds of images that they made. What a beautiful experience.

I remember their first assignment and how many images they brought to critique—a few of them had just a couple but the rest had way too many, we all laughed and I decided to keep it simple by giving them a number of picture to bring to class and it worked perfectly. I learned so much from them. It was so different teaching them and its hard to explain what it was really like. First of all some of them had never touched a camera before—its not like here where you can learn photography in high school. I think of the day I set up a still life for them not realizing they had no idea what I was talking about. But they tried and kept trying until they got it right. The images they brought to class were so beautiful and simple I cried I couldn’t help it. I think of the time I gave them their first family assignment. The day they came to critique, I downloaded their images on my laptop and when I saw them I had to laugh a lot to keep from crying. One of them asked me why I was laughing but another student said something to her in French and she didn’t ask again.

I can’t think of anything that I am more grateful for than teaching those kids photography, it was the greatest thing I’ve ever done!

 

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Life and Culture

When I first started the plan of teaching documentary photography in LaVallée I did tons of research on Haiti and her people so I would better understand their culture and know how to relate to my students during critiques. In my research I came across this beautiful quote by a Haitian man; “Our hope is that one-day you would learn first hand of the beauty of Haiti that endures to this day—that of its culture and of its people.”   —Edmonde Laguerre.

While looking through tons of images made by my photography students in Haiti one of the first suggestion I gave them comes to mind. I said to them if what you see in your camera does not touch your heart—do not press the shutter—shoot from the heart! I wasn’t sure they understood but when I downloaded their images to my mac for critique the next day, their images were so beautiful and touched my heart so deeply I had to laugh to keep from crying. I knew they understood what I meant when I said shoot from the heart.

The first class with the young photographers was all about the camera and how to use it; they had no experience in making photographs and had never even held a camera before. I had to think back to when my brother gave me my first camera I was no more than nine or ten years old. I remember it wasn’t the camera that fascinated me it was the pictures! I couldn’t get enough of them and this is what my students were experiencing. After that working with them became easy. Their first assignment was “home and family” and I didn’t have to remind them to shoot from the heart.

When it came time for me to return to the U.S. I left them with assignments to work on while I was gone reassuring them I would return in twelve weeks. The following images are from their first assignment.

All of the images by the young photographers will be published in the book. I have applied my copyrights to all the images on the blog so they cannot be reproduced.

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Posted in Documentary Photography, Far-flung villages, Far-Flung Villages in Haiti, Jeane LaRance, LaVallée, Life and Culture, Medical Photography, Photography in Haiti, Portraits, THE HAITI PROJECT, the young photographers of LaVallée | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Story of Life and Culture in LaVallée

I’m sorry to say once again that I will not be traveling to Haiti in June with the doctors—I have too much work to do but hopefully I will go on the November mission.

Most recently I received a grant for my work in Haiti to publish a book of images by my documentary photography students in Haiti, the young photographers of LaVallée, and myself. I’m very excited about this project because I know it will be an exquisite jewel of a book bringing joy to all who see it. Editing for a book is very time consuming and of course I would like to have tons of images in it but that’s not how it works. I have one year to finish editing, picking and choosing images to be published. I would like to have it ready for Christmas but I can’t say for sure that I will. The title of the book will be, A Story of Life and Culture in LaVallée de Jacmel, Haiti. I will keep you all up to date as the book progresses by occasionally adding images made by the young photographers and myself.

Once again, I want to thank the people in LaVallée for letting me be a part of their lives—it has been a great honor for me. Mesi beaucoup!

The following image were all made by the young photographers of LaVallée.

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Posted in Documentary Photography, Far-flung villages, Far-Flung Villages in Haiti, Jeane LaRance, LaVallée, Life and Culture, Medical Photography, Photography in Haiti, Portraits, the young photographers of LaVallée | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dr. Arshavir I. Michael, A Tribute

Dear Friends and Supporters of AHDH

The least we should do, for having the fortune to journey with you, Brother, is to commit that your example will continue to live through our deeds toward the less fortunate. AHDH’s Executive Committee

I am overwhelmed by the number of people who new and loved Doctor Arshi. I have watched the numbers on my blog grow higher than any post before and it verifies that we love Arshi and saw him as a outstanding man. He will be missed by so many and his shoes will no time soon be filled, if ever.

I watched him over the years mentor students in such a way that is indescribable, he was the best teacher I’ve ever seen. I watched him treat his family with much love, respect and kindness. I watched him treat his friends with love and respect and kindness, and I had the honor of watching him treat his patients in Haiti with those same fine qualities. I have a great respect an admiration for Dr. Arshi one that surpasses most.

There are no words to describe a man like him other than, he is a light unto the world, (Matthew V).

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Dr. Arshavir I. Michael, A Tribute.

Our beloved Arshi, Dr. Arshavir I. Michael, has transited

A Beautiful, Giant Oak tree,

Made a big splash, high up into our spring sky.

Leaving a large emptiness,

In our forest and our hearts.

But, he made sure he left plenty roots,

A road map, a model to nurture the younger oaks.

To encourage them to become as a giant as he was.

It is still spring time, time of revival,

Time to keep the forest of oaks alive.

The least we should do, for having the fortune to journey with you,

Brother, is to commit that your example will continue to live through our deeds toward the less fortunate.

       above text by the AHDH’s Executive Committee

I am at a loss for words but sometimes pictures need no words. I am honored to have known such a great man.

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A Story of Life and Culture in LaVallée de Jacmel, Haiti

Main Street in Ridoré on Sunday

Main Street in Ridoré on Sunday

Bon Marché

Bon Marché

The Ceremony

The Ceremony

Celebration!

Celebration!

Family

Family

Three elders

Three elders

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A Story of Life and Culture in LaVallée de Jacmel, Haiti

I have not been to LaVallée in more than a year but I feel as though you are all here with me now. I just gave a lecture on Tuesday March 24th, titled: A Story of Life and Culture in the County of LaVallée de Jacmel, Haiti. It was well attended I think for Key West, I was nervous but it was a good story and good stories are always about love and respect. My lecture was about how I see Haiti and her people—the people who fought so hard to be who they are, strong and proud, resilient, and beautiful.
As I prepared for this special event and edited through the many images I’ve made over the years in Haiti I see the faces and places that I know so well and love so dearly and it reminds me of why without question, I return to Haiti time after time. I thank all of my Haitian friends for letting me be part of your lives. Merci Beaucoup!
I am adding a few of the images that I used in my lecture and I do hope to see all of you in June!

Birth

Birth

Death

Funeral of an elder

The Offering

             The Offering

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HAPPY FATHERS DAY!

 

Fathers are honored on Fathers Day with a special service.

Honoring all Fathers on Fathers Day! St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church in Ridoré, LaVallée de Jacmel, Haiti

 

Happy Fathers Day!
To all Fathers—I wish you a Happy Day!
I won’t be traveling with you on this mission and I am envious so I thought I would post something about this special day to try and justify my feelings. Not one day passes that Haiti is not on my mind and I have loved every minute of traveling with all of you. It does feel strange not to be packing and shopping and planning—I never knew why I bothered to plan it never took place—as you know everything in Haiti is subject to change with a heart beat, but I planned anyway.
Most recently I won an award for my work in Haiti and that means another exhibit is in the works, some of you know how much time and work that requires so I will be very busy here at home this summer. But please know that I will be praying for all of you to have a safe productive mission. You are all my heroes!

 

 

Posted in Documentary Photography, Jeane LaRance, LaVallée, Medical Photography, Photography in Haiti, THE HAITI PROJECT | 1 Comment

THE ISLAND OF HISPANIOLA, HAITI AND DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The island of Hispaniola, Haiti and Dominican Republic

This is a perfect image of the Island of Hispaniola by NASA I couldn’t stop looking at it so thought I’d share it with all of you.

Posted in Documentary Photography, Far-flung villages, Far-Flung Villages in Haiti, Jeane LaRance, LaVallée, Photography in Haiti, THE HAITI PROJECT, the young photographers of LaVallée | Leave a comment