Twenty :: Haiti

‘Twenty’ part 10 :: Haiti 1996

‘Twenty’ is an occasional series marking the first twenty years of my work as a professional photographer.

Since the 2010 earthquake in Port au Prince, Haiti has been a significant part of my professional life.  But a long time before that, in 1996, I visited Haiti with Tearfund, reporting on their work with children, amongst other things.

It was a trip that I’ve spoken about quite a lot since, when I’m doing presentations and training sessions, partly because of these pictures.  We were driving back down from the north of the country (see the third image) on one of the least pleasant journeys I’ve done (it included hitting a dog, hitting a bus, having a high speed blow out, spending two hours clogged in traffic and being perched over totally non-existent suspension on a tiny bench seat in a sub-Suzuki style 4WD, over an extremely long day…).

We passed the field here, and I had to ask to stop, because it was an incredible sight.  The land was so rough that instead of hoeing it, or ploughing, the farmer was using a pickaxe to dig holes, and his partner was inserting single seeds directly into them.  It still sums up something of how hard some people have to work to make a living or to feed their family. We only spent a few minutes with them, but its an image that has stayed with me ever since.

Digging in rocky ground :: Haiti 1996 :: copyright Tearfund

Photos: Richard Hanson/Tearfund

Haiti 1996 :: copyright Tearfund

This is the image that got most widely used following the trip.  The scan quality is very poor though, and I rather like the interaction in the first image, which is why I’ve chosen that one as the main image in this sequence.

Back to Port au Prince :: the journey south :: Haiti 1996 :: copyright Tearfund

Tear Times Haiti cover

Copyright Tearfund – no reuse without permission

The gallery of images from ‘Twenty’ is here.


richard hanson :: photographer :: sheffield