Some time to relax and enjoy the beauty of Haiti

After the last day of training, we got a ride out to the local beach to take portraits of the reporters for my ongoing project, which will eventually bring together images of all 133 + Global Press Institute journalists around the world.    We also thought it would be nice to relax, after a long week for us and for the students who put in very long days at their college and then would come to the GPI trainings each day after school.

making portraits of the reporters

making portraits of the reporters

After swimming and playing around on the beach, which always has a way of bringing out the kid in all of us, we began to write in the sand.    The reporters wrote these notes for us which I think convey the love and appreciation that they showed us and which we feel for them in return.    I can’t wait to see the stories and the photographs that will continue to come from the amazing ladies at the GPI newsdesk in Haiti!

Paige_130126_3113

Paige_130126_3103Paige_130126_3107

Another successful GPI training

We are coming to the end of what has been a very successful trip on many levels.   I will miss the reporters here, but Maura and I both feel a bond has been formed which will help us all as we work together in the future.   It is nice to be able to edit the work of someone you have gotten to know and it helps to understand the stories they are covering now that we have been to Jeremie and seen many of the places they write about.   Each community has it’s own challenges for reporters, especially with different societal views about the role of journalism.

Me shooting while the reporters practiced making portraits

Me shooting while the reporters practiced making portraits

I had a great time doing some shooting of my own, though there were times that for safety reasons it was better that I not bring my camera out with me.   In certain places it was made clear to me that people would not want to have their pictures taken, but that was not the case everywhere.   We did a hands on lesson at the local hospital where the reporters found subjects to interview and photograph.   To my surprise I turned around and there was a line of people, wanting me to take their photograph, something I was very pleased to do.  I plan to send the images back to the newsdesk to be printed for them so they can have a photo of themselves, something very few people have here.

Practicing interviewing subjects for their stories

Practicing interviewing subjects for their stories

People at the hospital lined up because they wanted to have their photo taken

People at the hospital lined up because they wanted to have their photo taken

Our trip wouldn’t have been the same without guidance and assistance from Les, who helps to run the hotel where we stayed.  He was kind enough to take time from his schedule to give us a tour of Jeremie where he grew up and has now moved back to, after many years living in the states and working on Wall Street in New York.   His unique perspective taught us a lot about Haiti and I very much appreciate that.   He took us to an open air gym where he and some other guys have built their own weight lifting machines out of leftover scrap metal they have found.   As he said, they have to be creative and made due with what they have.

Open air gym in Jeremie

Open air gym in Jeremie

Thanks to Jon and the folks back at Pro Photo Supply in Portland for their ongoing support.   I have found that with my neck issues, my D4 gets really heavy on these long trips and so they lent me a D600 to use which has really helped.   I also fell in love with the 24mm 1.4 lens that I borrowed, so now I know what to start saving up for next.

Time to head home and catch up with my kids.  I am also looking forward to the upcoming GPI summit in San Fransisco.  It will be great to come together with GPI editors who have flown in from Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda and Argentina, and founder Cristi Hegranes who is always energizing and inspiring when she talks about the mission of the Global Press Institute, to empower women and to change the face of International Journalism.

A big welcome for us in Jeremie, Haiti

We are back from Haiti now and I will post what I wrote during our trip.  Intermittent internet and long days of working meant that I didn’t post while we were there.  Plus I’m realizing that sometimes it is nice to just be somewhere and be fully immersed in the experience and not get too distracted by having to post and tweet and message about everything in real time.

Jeremie, Haiti  A rural town on the West coast

Jeremie, Haiti A rural town on the West coast

Jeremie

Jeremie

January 23, 2013

I wrapped up my second day of photography training today and we had a great time with the reporters working on exercises around framing our images.   I read an inspiring book by Steve Simon, the Passionate Photographer, on the plane ride down and it gave me a few new ideas for class that I tried out.

Going over the photography curriculum

Going over the photography curriculum

Practicing shooting from different perspectives

Maura and I have been welcomed with open arms by the reporters here Mydrene, Lynda, Rosenie and Ganyerlar.  Renate, who helps run the college they attend, has been a great host and translator.   We had to do some rearranging of location for the classes, because there was some violence going on downtown when we arrived.    In fact it looked like we might have to leave Jeremie before we could finish out the week and the classes, but thankfully things have calmed down and we are able to stay.

Even though it is a world away from my last training in Nepal, the GPI reporters here have much in common with those in Kathmandu and around the world.   There is an intensity of purpose and a drive to learn and to push themselves to become the best journalists they can be, making it a such a pleasure to teach them and share my passion for photography.

When asked what brought them to GPI, the women spoke of their desire to give women and others in their community more of a voice, that they were tired of seeing journalists not cover the stories that need to be told.   They have a deep desire to share both the struggles of Haiti’s people, and also the stories of beauty that are there.   Their commitment and courage reinforces for me over and over why I love doing this job and working for Global Press Institute.   It is an absolute privilege to get to be a part of helping them to find their voices and hone their craft of storytelling.

Fun with photography