NO PHOTO!

RODRIGO ABD

2021

Haiti is not one story. It is many stories -- overlapping, colliding, advancing relentlessly to violent and heartbreaking endings.

The rich and the desperately poor. The brutal and the brutalized. Uneasily and sometimes murderously, they share half an island that is a magnet for natural disasters.

Las year I spent four weeks in Haiti and came away with a kaleidoscopic collection of images -- fragments of slices of life in a tumultuous land. Alos everyday, people covered their faces in my presence, I quickly learned that most Haitians, but particularly the poor, didn’t want to be photographed — not by a white man and certainly not for free.

“No photo. No money. I want no pictures. I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to talk to you.” These were the phrases I heard over and over.

The measures that had served me during two decades of photojournalism -- seeking permission, demonstrating respect and empathy — were not going to be enough in Haiti. I´ve encountered constant hostility, even violence. Before I could raise my camera I heard the words, “No photo!” It came from the people he was talking to and from those just passing by.

They also make a gesture along with “No photo!” — a finger drawn across the neck from left to right, like a fatal knife slice. I saw it many times, and understood it may be a death threat, but it’s also a statement of need, an indication that while I bent on capturing the moment, the person I saw in the viewfinder has more basic needs.

Despite all this, I tried through my work to show their sorrows, their needs, their anger and their cries for help to the world, that constantly ignores them.

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  • A gang member in a field on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021

  • Models pose for the photo showing a brand of leather handbags from a Haitian designer during an event a week before the selection of Miss Haiti in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.

  • A man crosses a barricade made by gangs to protect their territories downtown in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021

  • An abandoned class is seen in Fort Dimanche, once a prison where the late Haitian dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier imprisoned his enemies, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021

  • Leader La Piste's displaced residents, Joseph Dieu Faite, who is visually impaired, recalls the assault lead by police in June, at a shelter for the internally displaced in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. "There were some gangsters there, I have to acknowledge that, but the police did not ask, did not say a word, did not make a difference, just evicted us and then took matches and gasoline and burned our houses one by one," Faite said

  • A man prepares lunch outside his house in La Piste neighborhood, where residents, denounce the assault of their houses lead by police in June, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.

  • A house built with recycled metal sheets in La Saline shanty town, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.

  • A view of the densely populated Jalousie neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021.

  • A gang member, wearing a balaclava and holding a gun, poses for a photo in the Portail Leogane neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. There could be as many as 100 gangs in Port-au-Prince; no one has an exact count and allegiances often are violently fluid.

  • The skeleton of a bed is seen in Lapiste neighborhood, where dozens of houses where burned due to gang and police violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry talks to reporters during an interview at his private residence in Port-au-Prince, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021.

  • Night in the strets of Port-au-Prince.

  • Illuminated by a candle and cel phones lights, people displaced due to gang violence sleep inside a shelter in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.

  • A poster with the portrait of the assassinated president of Haiti Jovenel Moise is seen next to an avenue in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

  • Workers carry bread dough to make bread inside Bongu bakery in Bel Air neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021.

  • A gang member makes the gesture of pointing an imaginary weapon at a rival gang in a corner that divides control of two gangs in Bel Air neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

  • A man cuts wood to feed the oven at the Bongu bakery in the Bel Air neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021.


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