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A Haitian Frame of Mind

Published by Debs Slater · May 24th 2012

Today's guest post is by 500px photographer Robin Moore. He shares his incredible documentary work of Haiti, and the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the country in January 2010, as well as telling us a little about the Frame of Mind project he's since started there...

I first traveled to Haiti five years ago to explore and document a side of the country we rarely hear about: its unique biodiversity. Perched on remote peaks, lush cloudforest bubbles with species found nowhere else on earth and mist rolls through ethereal pine forest. 

Misty forest by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Misty forest by Robin Moore

Natural disaster

I was planning a return trip to Haiti for January 2010 to visit some remote tracts of forest when tragedy struck the country. I delayed my trip until the May, some four months after the earthquake, when I agreed to an assignment photographing inside Tent Cities for a couple of humanitarian NGOs. But I wasn’t entirely prepared for what I found when I arrived.

Earthquake damage by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Earthquake damage by Robin Moore

Tent City Life by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Tent City Life by Robin Moore

Home by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Home by Robin Moore

Suffering with dignity

Being face to face with such human suffering took a heavy emotional toll on me. I had to try to not let it affect me during the shoots, and did my best to portray the predicament of the people; to capture shots that were honest and portrayed the suffering but also the dignity of the people I met.

Hunger gnaws by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Hunger gnaws by Robin Moore

Stoic by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Stoic by Robin Moore

Old face, young girl by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Old face, young girl by Robin Moore

Smiles

I was amazed to be greeted in some of the tent cities with children singing and smiling. Their spirit impressed and inspired me, and I tried to capture this sense of optimism.

Smiles by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Smiles by Robin Moore

Hope by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Hope by Robin Moore

Smiles by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Smiles by Robin Moore

Documenting Haiti

I have returned to Haiti over half a dozen times since to document people and nature and, importantly, the intersection of the two. I have been keen to portray the beauty of Haiti’s natural resources and to promote their protection before Haiti suffers the repercussions of complete ecological collapse.

Collecting water by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Collecting water by Robin Moore

Frame of Mind

But I realize that we cannot expect people to care about nature when they have no bond with the natural world; the environment will always take second place to more pressing daily issues. I believe the only way to protect what Haiti has left is to foster a sense of pride and a culture of stewardship.

It was with this idea in mind, and believing that there is no better place to start than with those young enough to hope, that I co-founded Frame of Mind, an initiative to empower youth to connect with their natural and cultural worlds through photography and visual storytelling. The program was launched in Haiti with two workshops, a photo exhibit and book launch; we now have plans to return to Haiti and to grow the program to connect youth in other parts of the world.

Into the ether by Robin Moore (robinmoore) on 500px.com
Into the ether by Robin Moore

To find out more about Frame of Mind and how you can get involved please visit http://www.frameofmind.org. To see more of Robin's work, including more photographs captured in Haiti, head over to his 500px page.

Thanks to Robin for sharing and to you for reading. Feel free to leave some feedback; we love it!

     

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Meezer3
Sue Scimeca  over 2 years ago
This was a insightful view into a terrible tragedy. I volunteer for Feed the Starving Children.They produce and we volunteers help individually package and box instant nurtrional meals for people in conditions like these. Matter of fact, we just got done doing a load for shipment to Haiti the last time I was there. These photos make me even more mindful of just how important our help is for these people. One packet can feed 6 people.It may make the difference to many more lives.

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