I travel to Haiti as a writer and photographer for St. Boniface Haiti Foundation, a Boston-based NGO that has been working in the country for three decades. While my work requires me to visit Haiti’s southern department and take photos that reflect the organization’s on-the-ground activities and programs, I’ve also been drawn to shooting portraits of some of the people I’ve met along the way. Here are some of their stories.

1

The privilege of education

Most of the educational facilities in Haiti are private schools, but the average family, surviving on an income of less than $2 a day, cannot afford the tuition. These children are students at a fully funded school, where they receive educational assistance. Before I took the photo, they were smiling, joking, and laughing, but became serious once I started shooting.

2

A lesson in dignity

This man approached me through a translator and asked if I would take his photo, and if I would mind waiting for a few moments while he went and changed into his nicest shirt. This is one of my favorite photos from the series because it shows that pride in oneself is not a product of wealth or social status -- it is a universal feeling.

3

Am I beautiful?

This young woman was injured in Haiti's 2010 earthquake, and was adjusting to life as a spinal cord injury patient. She asked me to take several photos of her, because she was interested in seeing how she appeared.

4

Community outreach

Because much of Haiti is mountainous and highly inaccessible, hospitals employ the use of mobile clinics to reach vulnerable populations. Here, a community health nurse is shown instructing schoolgirls on how -- and when -- to take the vitamins they're receiving. This photo was shot from inside an ambulance, and you can see the girls are perhaps far more curious about my camera than about the vitamins.

5

To see

It's hard to believe this man is blind; during the session, he was singing and posing, cupping his hands around his face, being very playful. His sense of joy for life was contagious, and we all laughed with him.

6

Universality

I was at a rural outpost for the day, shooting photos of nurses and patients, when I saw this child lean into his mother. Her response was very familiar, a testament to universality. People may lead drastically different lives, but little things, like displays of affection, are often the same.

7

The beekeeper

An extremely kind man and photographer himself, this beekeeper and I traded questions: me, on the art and practice of beekeeping, and him, on camera equipment and photography. I took this portrait while receiving a tour of a local honey cooperative in southern Haiti.

8

The market

This girl was watching me curiously during a visit to the local market. She seemed to be still and calm despite the market's chaotic atmosphere. She and her mother stopped amidst the swirling traffic around us after I asked to take her photo, and I managed to catch this quiet moment.

9

The brightest smile

Also injured in the 2010 earthquake, this young man is one of the friendliest people I've met. He brought me to the wheelchair repair shop where he works, and tried to remain serious and focused while I took photos. Both my translator and I implored him to show his smile -- this was his response.

10

What about me?

This little girl would disappear for a few moments, and then pop up, or peek out at me from behind corners at a hospital where I was taking photos. I asked if she would like her photo taken, and she accepted excitedly. I later found out that her mother was a patient there.

11

Sense of style

This man insisted on wearing his favorite fedora in the shot even though the hat was too big. Though he isn't smiling outright in the photo, I'm struck by the emotion that's so visible in his face. He waited patiently to have his photo taken and seemingly enjoyed it so much that I finally had to excuse him.