Monday, March 15, 2010

Dispatches: Photog In Peril

Photo by D2 Photography

There’s a welcoming breeze tonight. Gentle and calm, just enough to brush the whiskers of your arm—cool and collective. In my tent, I’m typing to you via a satellite internet connection from the safe house I’m staying at. Communication is slow, banks are closed, grocery stores are merely open long enough to keep items in stock from those who can afford to shop. All the roads are congested with traffic. Debris from fallen buildings block certain intersections from being entered. It’s chaotic here, to say the least. Water is scarce. Electricity is only available to certain parts of the city, intermittently.

Every minute I’m here I become closer to those I meet. They’re no longer strangers to me anymore. We connect. We talk and laugh. But when I’m alone, I realize that the closer I get, the harder it becomes for me to be here. And obviously, the harder it becomes for me to leave them behind. Yet, having been away from home for so long now leaves me yearning for a warm shower, clean clothes, and a goodnight sleep. It’s a bitter sweet feeling.

I’ve been here for a week now—and to be quite honest, I don’t think I can handle much more of the emotional pain that comes with this assignment. Everywhere I turn there’s people suffering, children running naked, crowds rushing for rations being handed out. Seeing tents remind me of my time as a refugee. Listening to the unfamiliar language—yet universal motions of people begging tears me to pieces.

And I don’t know why it’s bothering me so much this time. I’ve been in situations like this many times before—but as I’m typing this, I’ve come to realize that perhaps it’s because I can relate to them so much more than I ever could in other places. And it hurts. Selfish, maybe. But I’ve thought about it long and hard—and you know what, despite the lens before me, I’m human, too. When I put my head down at night, it’s hard for me to fall asleep—to find closer to my day—which, some nights, I don’t think there ever will be.

For the past few days I’ve been in and out of City Soleil, a part of Port au Prince that has been forgotten by the outside world. I’ve got amazing access—and an equally amazing story to cinematically put together. Truth-searching is hard—especially when the truth hurts. But thankfully, I have you—my dear readers and friends who have sent me countless emails and messages via Facebook. Your words of encouragement mean the world to me. You remind me of my calling and my obligation to the art I have inherited. I am forever indebted to you.

I have two more days here before heading home for some much needed rest—and then, after a few days, I’m off again to my next destination: Kuwait.

I will write again soon. I hope all is well. Please take care of yourself—and each other.

Blogger Note: For up to the minute status updates and to see some photo's from Haiti, join me on Facebook.


Lorna said...

Affecting you deeply precisely because you can relate to their suffering. It hits home, and perhaps it hurts not to be able to help them out of their suffering. Too painful. But you being there, being their witness, does help them. Because they know that the story is not left untold, that others are seeing/feeling what they are experiencing. And that too brings comfort. Your work does make a difference, to them and to us, and ultimately, to you my friend.

Dan said...

Hang in there, man. That image is a great fit. Sayin' a little prayer for ya.


Adajah François said...

C est vraiment interessant de lire

Deboshree said...

Sweet Ron,
I'm proud of you!
You've got through sooo much and you are still doing your job. You are doing what you came for and that shows a lot about you!
Hang in there babe!

We are always with you. Always.

Much love and hugs,

Manju said...

Stay strong, stay safe Ron

The Rambler said...

I'm back.

I believe the written word can transport people to another place, time, and just wrap you up in it's story.

You have such a gift. Your photos speak VOLUMES. Your words...I can't find the word to describe.

Wander to the Wayside said...

I hope we get to see a collection of your work in Haiti, Ron. Will you be letting us know where and when we can?

Vera said...

It is better to be sensitive to what is happening in your immediate environment rather than to have become cold and unfeeling. It shows that you have a good heart, and that you are a kind and caring individual, Ron. Be proud of your sensitivities. Because it gives you the quality of work that you are able to achieve. x