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Journey to Haiti Through the Camera’s Lens

On January 12, 2010 one of the most destructive natural disasters of modern times struck one of the most impoverished nations of our time. Measuring 7 on the Rector Scale, a massive earthquake destroyed most of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and took more than 200,000 lives. Many students participated in various fundraisers for Haiti, but the disaster seemed so far away. Senior photojournalism majors David Jackson and Eli Baylis wanted a more active role in helping Haiti. “Along with a little pressure from one of my professors, I was very concerned with such a huge disaster happening so close to home. I saw a chance to work and help in a country that needed help desperately. I also saw it as a great learning experience; one that no class could give me,” said David. After failed attempts to get on relief flights to Port-au-Prince, David and Eli boarded a plane to the Dominican Republic. They then took a 9-hour cab ride to Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince. David said, “Everything from our attempts to get into Haiti taught us a lot about what it takes to get into a disaster area. We also got to shadow professional photographers from several big news organizations including: Getty, MSNBC, Miami Herald, and Ebony. The really key people that helped us out were Andre Chung, a freelance photojournalist from Baltimore; Carl Juste, a photographer for the Miami Herald; and Dudley Brooks the head photographer for Ebony magazine. Chung was our travel companion. He was with us from

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Top left: Haitians gather at the fence patrolled by the American military while waiting for helicopters to deliver aid on Wednesday, January 20. Photo by Eli Baylis Top right: Haitians line up by the thousands to receive food and water from the United Nations distribution point in down town Port-Au-Prince. Surrounded by debris from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, they have no idea when they will be able to drink and eat without the aid of the UN. Photo by David N. B. Jackson

Photo by Sebe Dale IV

Miami all the way into Port-Au-Prince. Juste helped us get a safe place to stay in the hotel where a lot of journalists were staying.” “Brooks kept us fed –knowing that we were broke after the travel expenses. All of them taught us a lot about the working side of photojournalism. How to get our pictures out to the people who can use them and what to plan for while out in the field.” David and Eli spent about five days in Haiti and a day traveling both ways. “Aside from the gory truth of a natural disaster I witnessed some of the strongest people I have ever seen. There was a sense of brotherhood in Haiti that I have never seen. People helped each other out even if they did not know each other. I remember our first evening there Eli and I were shooting a search team

looking for survivors in a building. I climbed up on a mound of rubble to get a better angle of the search teams. I started to lose my balance and felt sets of hands grab me to hold me up. It was two Haitian men.” The trip to Haiti has prepared David and Eli both for their future careers in photojournalism and given them hands on experience. David said, “It has made me more sure of myself and my ability to cover tough situations.” David is trying to find a way back to Haiti once school is out. “The problems Haiti will have from this will last for years, maybe even tens of years. I hope the coverage doesn’t loosen until Haiti is rebuilt. They had a lot of problems before and maybe this will give them a chance to rebuild a better Haiti.” Story by Samantha Stanford

Bottom right: A young boy with only a tuxedo vest on watches UN trucks pass and crowds gather at the food and water distribution point in front of the Presidential Palace. Photo by David N. B. Jackson Bottom middle: Privately owned planes and military helicopters drop aid to a small airport in Jacmel, Haiti. Jacmel did not see the destruction Por-Au-Prince saw, but the city was cut off from all forms of aid for days, leading to a series of riots. Photo by David N. B. Jackson Bottom left: On the eighth day since the earthquake that destroyed much of Port Au Prince, the roads were still nearly impassible. Photo by Eli Baylis

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Bottom left: On the eighth day since the earthquake that destroyed much of Port Au Prince, the roads were still nearly impassible. Photo by...