Thursday, April 28, 2016

—Léogane de toutes les promesses— Latest story from Gouter Aux Voyages

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
Just a short, colorful ride of about an hour and half from Port-Au-Prince and we were on the outskirts of Léogane. We didn't drive into the city—half a mile past the Momance river bridge, we took a left turn in front of a billboard for a nightclub as stated in the directions we had printed on our schedule. We rolled down  the car windows once we began riding on a narrow dirt road off the highway, and the rain from the night before gave off that fresh Earthy smell and a faint odor of sugarcane filled the car as we drove further inland.  George Valmé, whom I have been friends with on social media for a number of years, was our first assignment of the day. Since he is very well known in the area, finding his location in Haut Macombe wasn't too hard. In spite of the heat and humidity for this time of the year it was awesome to be in the countryside again. The following are excerpts from the article written by Jean Euphele Milcé : ''Combien de fois avons-nous tenté la traversée de Leogane, porte d’entrée du Grand Sud, sans oser un arrêt, un détour pour emprunter une de ses dizaines de culs-de-sac qui, en général, se meurent dans un lakou , dans une guildive ou dans un champ infini de canne?  Le restaurant d’Au Bon Café n’a qu’une table longue d’une vingtaine de couverts dans une salle ouverte sur la cuisine. La présence de Miguerline, Wilna et Lovely tantôt cuisinières tantôt serveuses relève de  ces petits détails qui ne peuvent que renforcer l’originalité de l’expérience.''

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Little girl in the river

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
When I saw this little girl playing in the water, it was already late, the sun had already gone down,  I was leaving— After an hour or so of walking up and down on loose rocks by the side of the river there wasn't much going on that inspired me. People were washing their clothes, some came with their motorcycles to wash off the dirt—most  objected when I attempted to make photos. Then a sweet little voice behind me said ; Ou pap pran foto'm - you're not going to take my picture? She was determined to be photographed and I was desperate to go home with a good image, just one. It was very easy to photograph her, the setting was perfect and she basically did her own posing, I just made sure there weren't anything distracting in the background—and just a few frames, I selected the one above.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Woman wearing a red tshirt, carrying a red pocketbook and her goats

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
You know it's  Friday when you hear the continuing bleat of goats in Thomassin, and I imagine elsewhere since Saturday is market day—varies depending on the location. Up in Fermathe it's usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The lady with the red tshirt said she had just purchased a bunch of goats in Kenscoff and was taking them home. Quite a scene when she got off the pickup truck with her newly purchased goats, they were running all over the place. She managed to get them all together with the help of some passersby.

Monday, April 18, 2016

At 4,825 feet above sea level, Furcy is unforgettable...

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
It took me a few days to  select the  photograph above for this post, the other images I shot to illustrate the story, Le restaurant dans les arbres, were priority and had to be filed the following day. I had to go back to that particular image several times, so I could edit and designed it a way that reflected the unexpected exchange with nature that forced me to wait around at this particular spot—which untainted energy  triggered a tremendous feeling of well being. All five of us, the Gouter Aux Voyages crew, were following down a narrow steep path, Bob Siffal, a native of the region, assigned to take us to 3 different locations around Furcy.  The cascade we were headed to was the last place  scheduled to explore. I could hear the cascade falling as we were getting closer, but I instinctively sensed what I needed to capture wasn't there—so I quit hiking and stayed behind. At 1,600 feet in altitude, in a special place like Haiti, up in the mountains of Furcy, the  energy switch once you get there  is quite remarkable. From where I was standing,  right below, about 15 feet down the slope, there is a very narrow trail that also leads to the water fall. The two boys carrying empty gallons, on their way to fetch water, emerged from a nearby hill half hour later and walked right inside the frame.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Impossible Project Debuts Its Very First Camera, The I-1

The impossible project
The I-1 was debuted today by Impossible Project CEO Oskar Smolokowski, and it’s a camera that stands at the border between two worlds. One one side: the nostalgic pleasure of the analog instant cameras of old; on the other: the sleek design and digital control we’ve grown accustomed to in the 21st century. This article was first published on the website PetaPixel
the impossible project

The camera uses Impossible type 600 film—which was reverse engineered from the now discontinued Polaroid 600 film, which the camera can also use—and while it may look extremely simple from the outside, it’s got a few tricks up its sleeve.The “advanced ring flash” automatically adjusts based on ambient light and focus distance, the battery is USB rechargeable (a big departure from the Polaroid days), and a companion app can connect to the camera via bluetooth giving you full manual control over aperture, shutter speed, and flash settings. The Impossible Project I-1 is set to arrive May 10th attached to a $300 price tag, putting it right on track to compete with the many used Polaroid cameras you can buy online, as well as Fuji’s popular Instax line of film and cameras.To learn more, head over to The Impossible Project website.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ozone The Village, formerly known as Rustik

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
"Riccardo Etienne, l’heureux patron de l’Ozone the village , anciennement Rustik, nous reçoit dans son château dans les arbres. Mes compagnons et moi avons longuement écouté la poésie de cette construction. C’est l’aboutissement d’une folie si ce n’est une œuvre d’art patiemment élaborée. Tout est recyclage. Des palettes en fin de vie, des pneus usagés, des milliers de bouteilles vides, des grosses bobines de câbles, un vieux transformateur, autant d’objets hétéroclites, un jour jetés, reprennent vie et du service dans une nature protégée." Jean Euphele Milcé /Gouter Aux Voyages

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Furcy Was Awe-Inspiring...

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
Furcy ranks high on the list of must see places in Haiti...
"Furcy figure en bonne position sur la liste des endroits a voir absolument en Haiti pour la fraicheur que procure les mille six cent metres d'altitude et le faste du paysage. De mai a septembre, c'est la destination phare de tous ceux qui, extenués par la canicule, cherchent asile le temps d'une journée, d'un weekend." Jean Euphele Milcé - Gouter Aux Voyages

Monday, April 11, 2016

—BOYCOTT— Alternative Bar, Privately Owned, Not Open To The Public

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
Last August 2015 while I was in New York, I received a couple of photos of the new BOYCOTT location from my very good friend JEM. The last location in Duplan was a bit out of the way and not too cozy. The new location is near Carrefour Douet up  in the mountains of Kenscoff and it is more accessible to the town open market, public transportation and stores.  This past Saturday a new television show, DAKOUSTIK, which will feature musicians was video taped and a very well known performer named Bélot was interviewed by the show host Esmeralda Milcé. If you live in Haiti   the Show will be aired sometime this month and can be viewed on Tele Pacific—which also broadcast in Miami, Florida.
photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fort Jacques is part of a bigger photo project

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
What an exchange—with nature, children and a horse. I was out there for 5 days, about 6 hrs daily observing, walking around throughout the area called Fort Jacques up in Fermathe, and staying very alert. The Fort, which was built as a defensive system to prevent the return of the French after the revolution, wasn't a source of inspiration. I wanted to make some unique images but I didn't have anything specific in mind. The surrounding pine trees and wooden picnic tables by the Fort had potentials, it's a great locale and not too crowded during the week.
photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
 Regardless of how visually boring a place maybe, there are always opportunities to create beautiful imagery. Patience is a virtue indeed, the ability to wait for an ordinary scene to unfold into something unexpected. Photographing Fort Jacques is part of a bigger project for a book. A book that will put emphasis on beauty, "intimate" places and people interacting. 
photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
The challenge is to capture the essence of several destinations around Kenscoff and the mood that goes with it and be fully prepared when the moment comes. In so many ways, I am at the mercy of the environment where this particular project will be done. Fort Jacques was a bit difficult, careful observation was essential. I happen to be on the phone with a very good friend while on location and she just said flat out "there's nothing there to photograph". Indeed I felt that way on the first day of the shoot and completely changed my frame of mind very fast—the mundane and boring subjects have incredible beauty hidden, you just have to dig, wait, and have a keen eye to capture it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

William Dalrymple's world in black and white pictures

William Dalrymple
Author and historian William Dalrymple has recently published The Writer's Eye, a collection of black and white images taken during his travels around the world over the past 18 months. Mr Dalrymple use a Samsung Note to take pictures during his travels. "I get a particular pleasure out of the immediacy and the lack of pretension inherent in using a mobile phone to record the world around me"

Monday, April 4, 2016

Education is going to make all the difference to Haiti's future

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
Haiti's children can't become great leaders and innovators unless a new method of education is fundamentally reinvented and is transformed to be applicable to actual challenges that the country have to cope with daily. I believe by providing children across the nation with quality education, they will be better disposed to make real contributions to Haitian society.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Visceral, Emotional, Intellectual: The Ingredients of Powerful Photography

These American States.Baltimore,Maryland,August 22,2010.The member of the United House of Prayer for All people. © Jim Loscalzo /EPA
What stands out for me is the ability of a photographer to produce an image or set of images that communicates immediately. It is visceral, emotional and intellectual--in that order. Each image should have its own weight. If this constellation occurs, the photograph has succeeded. [Excerpts from the interview on lens culture with Maria Mann of the European Pressphoto Agency]

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Instant App imitates the workflow of a real Polaroid Camera

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved

I once owned a Polaroid OneStep SX-70 which I had purchase on line in the early 2000'. Instant film were still available and it was quite enjoyable to see immediately what I had just photographed on paper. I took it with me wherever I went, always handy inside my backpack to take photos of stuff I found to be interesting - I mostly used it for still photography (not professionally) and  took snapshots of places to keep a record like a personal diary made of polaroids. Using the Instant app, for both apple and android only cost $4.99, and is close to using a real polaroid camera. Depending on the event, at times I am not up to taking an SLR with me, just a few snapshot for my archive - Last June 2015, the Annual Pride Parade route happened to to be on west 8th street and Avenue of the Americas, right in front of a health food store I worked for a few months. With the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage throughout the US, I took a few shots for my records using the Instant polaroid app.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Petite Riviere, next to Layé Beach in the Grand Anse

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
This was the highlight of my 2 year photo project in the Grand Anse initiated by Francois Chavenet. Dame-Marie is about a 2 hour trip from Jeremie. The road is unpaved, very bumpy ride- you need a four wheel drive for this journey- It's one of the most forested area in the Country. With roughly 4% of forestation left in Haiti, the Grand Anse should be protected at all cost- in any case, tall trees line up the road on both sides until you get there. I couldn't help to wonder what this place must have been like going back in the 50's. I was told by elderly residents that at one time, you needed a machete to chop through dense forest depending on where in the countryside you were going.
photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
On arrival in Dame-Marie, my host insisted that I go to Layé, and I definitely agree after visiting, that it is one of the most beautiful, pristine beach in the Country. White sand, crystal clear turquoise water, and deserted. I sat on the beach for a good while, one of those rare moments on assignment when you actually forget about the assignment. In the distance I saw a handful of children playing on the sand, as I gotten closer I noticed they were playing in fresh water flowing into the ocean  from a nearby spring. Some were fetching water, young girls washing their clothes, and this little boy came along with a horse - I obviously didn't leave without making a picture.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Cockfighting ring in Jeremie, Grand-Anse

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
Haiti is one of the few countries in the world where cockfighting is still legal. I am not sure when and if stiff laws regarding cruelty to animals, illegal animal fighting, ect., in the US and elsewhere - could be implemented  down here. Cockfighting is a widely popular pastime throughout the Country, and it attracts a big crowd, mostly men who also gamble. On a Sunday afternoon, about a mile from where I was staying in Jeremie, my guide pointed out there was a (gaguere) down the road and I should have a look. I didn't go inside the arena where the fight was being held, it has already been photographed, just google cockfighting - instead I was looking for something up close and personal.The guy in the photo happens to be friends with my guide and he reluctantly accepted. I am happy with what I captured.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On the outskirts of Anse Du Clerc, in the Grand Anse

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
We were on our way to Les Abricots, the assignment this time was to focus on opportunities ranging from agriculture to land development. The locations I had to go to were accessible only via motorbike and all the arrangements were already made-this assignment was the last one to finish the Grand Anse  Photo Project which was initiated by Francois Chavenet and took nearly two years to be completed. It was a two day shoot to illustrate a document which would be made available to potential investors interested in projects which would definitely be beneficial-half a mile before you reach Anse Du Clerc, right before the road abruptly starts to descend, there is quite an impressive view as the charming seaside town gets closer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Food story shoot in the L'Artibonite for Le National

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
This on going project was well received and approved right away. Gouter Aux Voyages involves traveling across Haiti with a writer, Jean Euphele Milcé, who happens to be a very good friend of mine.The Newspaper agreed to pay all the traveling expenses + salary and at the end of the year or next January, all the articles and photos will be publish in a book. We get to decide which part of the Country we'll travel to and when we go. Gouter Aux Voyages is an excellent platform to promote Haiti different regions, its local products and specially the food culture.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Seeing familiar places with new eyes

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
The assignment in Marigot was done a day early, the client was happy with the pictures I emailed and there was nothing scheduled for the next day. Late the following afternoon, I ended up in Jacmel where I have gone numerous times to photograph Carnaval. With 2 hours of daylight left, I had to get rid of my creative block. I needed to look at Jacmel differently, I needed to be like a photographer on his first visit. We sometimes go to places that have been photographed before, and it's important to view what has already been done. So I began to look at my surroundings with fresh eyes,  and noticed stuff that I failed to see in previous visits. There is so much beauty in the ordinary, everyday sights that we overlook - the time of the day we go out to shoot is as important, I have walked up and down the road where I made the photograph above and never noticed the beauty in the deteriorating old house, the mood late afternoon can produce.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Travel Photo Diary - Smooth sailing to Labadi in Cap Haitian

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
Being on that sail boat was actually the best part of the assignment which involved going to Cap Haitian. On our way back to the main land, we made a stop to a deserted beach which can only be accessed by boat. White sand, crystal clear turquoise water and sea food for lunch of course.
photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

All sorts of Artists come to Pen Haiti

photo © patrice dougé All rights reserved
Wilson Delianne, whose work is displayed on the floor is Zephirin's bother, the concierge of Pen Haiti. We've met numerous times, usually when he comes to visit we engage in small talk but I never knew he also paints. He started doing sketches at an early age and sold his first painting when he was 19 years old. On his last visit about a week ago, Wilson brought with him several of his work which I happen to like, to make a small presentation for Flo Jallier, (woman on the right w/purple dress) a writer who lives in Paris and stayed at the Pen Haiti residence for 2 weeks. Before she left on her trip to Haiti, her brother asked her to bring back some Haitian Art. She chose the painting of the vases on the right.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Black Photographers and the emergence of a people

"It's the culmination of years since 1972, I've been researching African-American photographers and the history of black images in terms of looking for black photographers and images that told a different story that has been normally seen of black people." Deborah Willis 
African-American photographers are central to telling, preserving and reclaiming stories long distorted or hidden. NPR recently spoke with Thomas Allen Harris and Deborah Willis about the film, a project that's taken 10 years to complete.