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

In LaVallée

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I have never lived without running water—most people in the United States don’t know what that’s like. However, there are still many Native people in the US who do not have running water. When I was growing up, my grandparents did not have water in their house—they drew water from a nearby well, so I knew having running water in the house was a “luxury” not to be taken for granted. Living without running water is a hardship many people can’t even imagine.  Nevertheless, in countries like Haiti, everyone knows what its like not to have this precious element easily accessible to them. People in LaVallée have to walk up steep rocky trails or roads to get water and then carry it back home, usually on their head. I am amazed at the resilient energy and strength of Haitian people.

2.	Flying over the mountains from Port au Prince to Jacmel is a quick flight and the view is always different. Here you can see the damage on the treeless mountains from heavy rains during hurricane season and you can see the damage caused by the ravaging water as it rushes completely in charge as it pillages its way to the ocean—leaving nothing behind.

Flying over the mountains from Port au Prince to Jacmel is a quick flight and the view is always different. Here you can see the damage on the treeless mountains from heavy rains during hurricane season and you can see the damage caused by the ravaging water as it rushes completely in charge pillaging its way to the ocean—leaving nothing behind.

1.	As I watched this beautiful storm blow in off the ocean, I couldn’t help but think about the river and what it will be like when we have to cross it. But this rain is desperately needed, especially for the crops, the animals, and the cisterns and reservoirs.

As I watched this beautiful storm blow in off the ocean, I couldn’t help but think about the river and what it will be like when we have to cross it. But this rain is desperately needed, especially for the crops, the animals, and the cisterns and reservoirs.

4.	The river is critical for the people who live in and around the area; they rely on it for their daily needs, cooking, drinking, bathing, laundry, watering the animals and their crops.

This river is crucial for the survival of the people in this country. They use it for all of their daily needs—they drink from it, they water their animals and their crops, its where they do their laundry, it is their main source of water.

3.	Everyone crosses this river on the way up the mountains but during hurricane season and after a heavy rain no one crosses until the water subsides.

Everyone crosses this river on the way up the mountains and back but during hurricane season and after a heavy rain no one can cross until the water subsides.

5.	This bridge was just one of many bridges that was built over the years but none could standup under torrential downpours and raging waters during hurricane season.

The bridge here was just one of many bridges that was built over the years but none could standup under torrential downpours and raging waters during hurricane season.

6.	Last spring a group from China came with tons of equipment and started construction on a bridge that will hold up under the forces of nature during hurricane season. We all hope their work will holdup under the conditions of nature.

Last spring a group from China arrived with tons of equipment and started construction on a bridge that will hold up under the forces of nature during hurricane season.

8.	Higher up in the mountains and away from the river people have to rely on underground streams for their water or they have tapped into the spring and installed a pipe to direct the flow making it easier to fill containers or bathe and do laundry.

Higher up in the mountains and away from the river people have to rely on underground streams for their water or they have tapped into the spring and installed a pipe to direct the flow making it easier to fill containers or bathe and do laundry.

9.	When there is a dry spell, people get water where they can and often they walk long distances for it

When there is a dry spell, people get water where they can and often they walk long distances for it.

10.	Rain is good during the dry season but this is Market Day and the rain is coming making people scramble to cover their wares.

Rain is good during the dry season but this is Market Day and the rain is coming making people scramble to cover their wares but they don’t seem to mind at all.

7.	When I first met this woman she told me she had been washing linens for the hospital in these pans, by hand, for a very long time—Not long after, AHDH raised enough money for a large generator, built a water tower and put in a washing machine—no longer do they wash anything by hand at the Hospital St. Joseph.

When I first met this woman she told me she had been washing linens for the hospital in these pans, by hand, for a very long time—Not long after that, AHDH raised enough money for a large generator, built a water tower and put in a washing machine—no longer do they wash anything by hand at the Hospital St. Joseph.

13.	This young girl walks to the source carrying the clothes and spends most of the day here washing them.

This young girl walked to the source carrying soiled clothes and will spend most of her day here washing the clothes, by hand, for her family.

14.	I am impressed with the young people in LaVallée, I never hear them whining because they have to carry heavy containers of water or that they might be hungry. I don’t know how far this young boy has to walk carrying water for his family but does it without complaining.

I am impressed with the young people in LaVallée, I never hear them whining because they have to carry heavy containers of water or that they might be hungry. I don’t know how far this young boy has to walk carrying water for his family but he does it without complaining.

15.	I am always amazed at the resilient energy and strength of the Haitian people. With a heavy bucket of water on her head, she stopped and waited for me to get near enough to photograph her and her granddaughter.

I am always amazed at the energy and strength of Haitian people. With a heavy bucket of water on her head, she stopped and waited for me to get near enough to photograph her and her granddaughter.

16.	This old guy is on his way to fill his containers with water, no telling how far he has to walk and he might do this a few times a day.

This man is on his way to fill his containers with water, no telling how far he has to walk and he might do this a few times a day.

17.	This area called Boursiquot is one of the main water sources. These boys were on a water truck filling the large containers and then putting vines on top of the water to keep it from splashing out while driving back up that steep rough road.

This area called Boursiquot is one of the main water sources. These boys were on the water truck filling large containers with water and then putting vines on top of the water to keep it from splashing out while driving back up that steep rough road.

19.	This young couple was married in a small church, after the service we all walked to the home of the newly weds, which was quite a long walk, to help them celebrate. Along the way we passed the water source where women were washing clothes and hanging them on the fence—they all stopped and greeted the couple as they passed. Even though I thought it was a long walk it was a good time with lots of laughing and talking.

This young couple was married in a small church and after the service we all walked to the home of the newly weds, which was quite a long walk, to help them celebrate. Along the way we passed the water source where women were washing clothes and hanging them on the fence—they all stopped and greeted the couple as they passed. Even though I thought it was a long walk it was a good time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Portraits of Beautiful People in LaVallée, Haiti

 

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I have so many beautiful portraits of people I’ve met in Haiti. I think of my first trip and of Dr. René warning me about the people stealing my heart and how right he was. On my first trip I wanted to give something to the people I would be meeting for the first time so I took a small portable printer and tons of ink and paper and made portraits of anyone who wanted a photograph until I ran out of paper. The images you’ll see were all selected at random and from different times and places in LaVallée and Jacmel. I’m happy to show you how they presented themselves to me.

 

Man with the pink scarf

Man with the pink scarf

 

One of the Ladies making our dinner

One of the Ladies making Pikliz (pick-lees) for our dinner.

 

This family has been taking care of the doctors, nurses and volunteers for a very long time and they do an excellent job!

This family has been taking care of the doctors, nurses and volunteers for a very long time and they do an excellent job—Merci Beaucoup!

 

This little one will put a smile on your face.

This little one will put a smile on your face.

 

Michael Beauford and a group of youngsters looking at the pics on his camera

Michael Beauford and a group of youngsters looking at the pics on his camera.

 

Joe And Louise Lature a couple of the nicest people I know.

Joe And Louise Lauture a couple of the nicest people I know.

 

Joe with the Mayor his beautiful family.

Joe Lauture with the Mayor and his beautiful family.

 

In front of the catholic school

In front of the catholic school

 

Lady from Bainet

Lady from Bainet

 

Boy in a blue checkered shirt

Boy in a checkered shirt.

 

Toasting the newly weds at the Cap LaMondeau in Jacmel

Toasting the newly weds at the Cap LaMandou Hotel in Jacmel.

 

We met this young lady poolside at the Cap LaMondeau

We met this young lady poolside at the Cap LaMandou Hotel.

 

Claude is a friend and is always available to help in anyway he can.

Claude is a friend and always there to help in anyway he can.

 

this little boy looks as though he's filled with wisdom.

This little guy looks like he might run the country one day!

 

Professor Artur was one of the three elders in the community, he lived well into his 90's.

Professor Artur was one of the three elders in the community, he lived well into his 90’s. He was a great man  and I’m honored to have met him.

 

woman wearing a big hat

Woman wearing a big hat.

 

Guy and Kathleen are great people and always there for us.

Guy and Kathleen are great people and are always there to help. Kathleen makes delicious passion fruit drinks when we visit. Love to you both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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