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Hope in Haiti

In our little town of Nashville, the photographer Jeremy Cowart is something of a rock star.  I suspect his renown is growing all around the world.  When you consider that he’s made pictures of Sting, Imogen Heap, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Courtney Cox, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ryan Seacrest, and traveled with Britney Spears in 2009 as her tour photographer, some fame and name recognition makes sense. 

My favorite project that Jeremy envisioned is one called Help-Portrait.  Help-Portrait is a world-wide movement stirring the hearts and hands of photographers to find someone in need, take their portrait, print it, and give it to them for free.  Art House America is privileged to join Jeremy and thousands of other volunteers around the world in creating these photographic artifacts for the common good.

We’ve included some of Jeremy’s photos with this blog, ones he took on a trip to Haiti after the 7.0 earthquake rocked the country January 12th of 2010.  We hope you’ll allow these images to become a part of you and then join us in talking to God about matters of mutual concern, specifically the people and place of Haiti, their need, and ongoing restoration.

As Jeremy wrote: “For days I watched as the television flashed images of gloom and doom . . . dead bodies, crumbled buildings. . . . It just felt like a heartless display of numbers and statistics. How were the people feeling? I wondered. I was tired of hearing endless reports from strangers that just arrived to this devastated nation. So I decided to go to Port-Au-Prince myself and ask them directly. My question was simply, “What do you have to say about all this?”

Jeremy’s photos reveal the many answers to that question.

His irrepressible joy made this three year old boy everyone’s favorite kid at the hospital where he was staying. He was found under the rubble of his house with a severely injured arm but when around him, it was easy to forget what he had endured.

“Give us this day, our daily bread.” As we stopped to take a picture this woman approached us asking for help. When we asked her what she had to say, she said that the only thing she wants is a can of milk for her kids. On a side note, this is one of three crosses I saw still standing. All three churches had been completely destroyed but the crosses stood unrattled.

“God Gives, God Takes, God Bless.” This man is a pastor who lost his daughter in the earthquake but as you can see, hasn’t lost his faith.

“God give the children of Haiti a better life.” Mammie is “Mommy” to over seventy girls from the ages of 1-20 in her orphanage in Delmas 31. We spent a lot of time with Mammie that day. Her heart was beyond broken when she spoke to us privately. But the way she showed strength when the girls were paying attention was awe-inspiring.

“The backyard of January 12th.” Tent cities have poppepd up everywhere. Hundreds of thousands of homes are destroyed. This sign should be the entrance sign for all of Port-Au-Prince.

“Love Conquers All.” We heard that evening that there was a wedding taking place. Immediately we started driving around in the general area where the wedding was and we finally found it. The bride and groom were walking out the door as we pulled up. We explained the concept and they agreed right away. As soon as we asked them if they knew what they had to say, they wrote down “Love Conquers All.” It was a stunning statement for such a devastating time of need. After the photo was taken, we drove them to their “honeymoon” in a tent city.

“Stay calm. God will fight for us.”


Voices of Haiti

Jeremy Cowart


Charlie is a record producer, Sr. VP of A&R for Twenty Ten Music, and Co-Founder of Art House America.

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Reader Comments (4)

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful people. This post vibrantly echoes all that I have seen in the hearts of the Haitian people in my travels among them.

Bondye beni moun la nan Ayiti!

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRick

It takes a very talented photographer to create something beautiful out of such tragic circumstances. Jeremy has done that with these photos, in a manner somewhat reminiscent of Dorothea Lange's famous photo "Migrant Mother," But Lange's classic photo seemed to capture more of the pathos of the Okie woman's plight, compared with these photos, which make these Haitians seem almost cheerful in comparison. (Maybe it's the difference between color photos and black and white photos, or maybe it's the migrant mother's worried expression in Lange's photo, or maybe it's a combination of both of things.)
Incidentally, just to let you know, the text accompanying these photos is cut off on the right side so that it isn't all visible. It may be on account of the nonstandard browser being used by these computers at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago.

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Pettigrew

Rick, thank you!

Mark, thanks for your insightful comments, and for pointing out the format problem. It should be fixed now. If not, please let me know. Thanks!

July 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterJenni Simmons

Thank you so much for this. I've been wondering about the Haitian people. I read an article today that support for the tsunami victims in Japan has dropped quite a bit. So much happens around the world, and it is so easy to forget, especially when recovery takes a long time. This is a great project - I look forward to exploring it further!

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKerri

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