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“preparations” for a Voodoo ceremony

It is 2:00am and I just returned from a “preparations” for a Voodoo ceremony (Will happen on Saturday)… The ceremony is an “Ash Wednesday” ceremony, which is used to exit the period of JAD/SINBI (December/January) and enter a new period of and a new energy ENTERIA. With the spirits of AIDAWEDO AND DANBALLAH. VéVé (the drawings on the floor) represent the spirits MINOKAN (all the spirits) and DANBALLAH…

Visiting the dead people of Port au Prince

I also went to see the “dead” people of Port au Prince today. As strange as it sounds, I always visit cemeteries of places that I am visiting. It tells me a lot about the local culture, and I find it somewhat peaceful and spiritual. It helps me to connect to the place…

2nd day in Haiti

On my 2nd day (or 1st day of actually walking around Port au Prince) I was looking for some orientation of the place, and feel of the people…It is a hot and humid day, and We were walking for about 4 hours and soaking up the atmosphere. People not always willing the be photographed, and one needs to charm them or pay few dollars…I did both… below is a some of the Haitian people that we came across…

First few hours in Haiti

I Just arrived Port au Prince (Haiti) this evening hoping to experience the last day of the local carnival, but a sad day was yesterday. During the carnival an electric cable hit a float and many people have been electrocuted and more died due to the resulted panic (they say about 50 people)…the last day turned in to a mourning march…I had only few hours on the street and took the below shots… With all the sadness I came to see that some of the poorest places has more “life” in them then some of the richest cities in the world…let’s see what the next 17 days will bring…
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Stuck in New York

New York having the coldest day in 30 or something years, all flights are cancelled…and I am stuck here (although there are worse places to get stuck in)…so my trip to Haiti is delayed (by only few days I hope)…in the meantime I went out to see what all the fuss is about, and it is cold very, very cold -9ºc and with the strong wind factor it feels like -15ºc, and I am certainly not dressed and not conditioned for this crazy weather…at the moment there is no snow, so I can’t even enjoy the beauty of New York in the snow…but still managed to take few picks before my ears and fingers froze and fell off completely…when I couldn’t take it any more I escaped to the most “greasy” and wonderful breakfast, like you should have when you are in the USA…DSCF4600

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Photographing in Haiti (2)

My ambition with photography was always not so much as being a great photographer; it is more about producing “important” photographs, or bodies of work. “Important” photography in my eyes, is showing things, places, cultures, humanity, ideas or points of view that most people wouldn’t be exposed to or introduced to otherwise…
I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” in Haiti on TV, and was alerted to the need of being watchful not to fall in to the trap of photographing poverty, just because it is what is expected… but on the other hand not to ignore it either, just to keep it in a contexts of the project that I set myself, to the peoples practices, and the daily life in Haiti…the project shouldn’t have the look of a ‘promotion’ for an aid agency, rather “documenting” a place and its people…

Photographing in Haiti

9th February 2015

It is time to start a new project and get out of this ‘not doing enough’ slump. So I booked a flight to Port au Prince in Haiti (leaving on Friday the 13th). Booking the flight was the easy part, but what am I going to photograph there?

I was invited as an ‘Artist in residence’ to Varanasi India at the same time, and I intended going there for a month, but somehow Haiti sound more adventurous and less exposed photographically – with  extreme practices. But the question still remains: what is waiting for me there, how to approach photographing there, what am I looking for, and what am I trying to say or show…?…one thing I learned through the years of photographing places, “go to wherever, and things will present themselves to you if you will look carefully”

What I found up to now is that: 90% of Haitians are Catholic, 10% Protestants and 100% Voodoo practitioners.

My understanding (from far away) off the most basic concepts of Voodoo are:

First and foremost Voodoo is a religion. It is the dominant religion of Haiti. Many of the practices and descriptions of Voodoo belief may sound to outsiders like rank superstition, but then, imagine the beliefs of Christianity or Judaism to people who know nothing about it. Tell them about the trinity or the resurrection, or the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist,  that any  intelligent Christian believes in the fullest, would seem no less superstitious to someone unfamiliar with Christianity.

So Voodoo practitioners believe that there is one God, Blondie. This God is very similar to the God of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. There is only one God. (Bob Corbett, March 1988)

God is too distant to communicate with, so we communicate with god via spirits.

That it is for today…so Haiti here we come…and more notes to come as well…

Plenty to see on a train ride