Tobacco seller’s hand, Mirebalais market, Mirebalais, Haiti. May 2014
After years of planning, a team of Sewanee students and I begin to bring Zanmi Foto into practice. Our Haitian agricultural college student partners from CFFL (the bright green bubble below) will be at the center of a community development project that uses photography and discussions around photographs as a way of building resilience and compiling a development narrative (‘soft data’). The photographs and discussions will be generated by families that are part of another project, Zanmi Kafe, with the over-arching host organization Zanmi Agrikol, (aqua green bubble below) in the remote villages of Bois Jolie and Blanchard. Another version of this model is being tried out at Camp Discover in Grundy Co., TN, and I hope yet another version will soon be tested in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
This approach stresses the function photography plays in building relationships, largely through photographs made by and within small communities, and the discussions that arise from looking at these photographs. Over time, the collection of photographs and the discussions will serve as a soft data bank; as both an archive and a reference.