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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…