March 17, 2010
Kareem Black was in Haiti March 5th – 11th, 2010 with six other creatives from New York City on behalf of Healing Haiti and Print for Change. Their trip was made possible thanks to a generous donation from BBDO. The group calls themselves “The Sept,” or “The Seven,” and consists of photographers Wyatt Gallery and Alessandro Simonetti, writer Adam Reeves, writer and director Eugene Fuller, and illustrator and EVP of DesignWorks at BBDO, Craig Duffney.
The group visited orphanages, helped deliver water, and documented their time in Haiti – taking photos, shooting video, and talking to locals. Black was candid about life in Haiti, stating, “There’s no garbage disposal, no local police force or army, they burn garbage and bodies, there’s sewage in the streets, pigs eating the sewage, and children playing with the pigs.”
In the midst of volunteering, Black and the others quickly became aware that there was no easy nor permanent solution to the current situation in Haiti. Without money or passports, it is difficult to leave the stricken island. The lack of infrastructure exacerbates problems and housing solutions are still meager as many people camp out in tents.
And yet, “I don’t want to record death and destruction – everybody knows that story,” says Black. Instead, Black chose to focus on the people, especially children, because “[they] are the hope and future of the nation.” He furthers, “I want to give the culture some sort of dignity.”
In Black’s photos and videos taken by the group, one can see that people are still able to smile and dance and enjoy themselves. In a small nation that has born the brunt of a natural disaster, there is still beauty and joy to be held. Children, especially, reacted energetically to Black’s camera, overjoyed at seeing their image displayed on the screen of his digital camera.
The group aims to take all of their footage, photos, and experiences and assemble a book and/or show with all proceeds going to charity. They want to tell their story and inspire others to give back to Haiti, whether that’s writing a check, volunteering, or donating tools for growth and learning such as cameras and personal computers. Reflects Black, “It’s very easy to lose hope – I almost did, but this is our way of helping Haiti one day at a time.”