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August 5, 2010

Brendan Hoffman: Haiti Far From The Madding Crowd

This is the fifth and last post of photographer Brendan Hoffman’s series from Haiti, six months after the earthquake. Before returning to Washington, Brendan traveled with a family he had met in January in the aftermath of the quake to their hometown near Les Cayes in the mountains.  Fortunately, the quake did not hit the region badly.

It was a much needed respite after the continuing chaos of Port-au-Prince. As Hoffman relates, “there’s no electricity, no running water. But they aren’t desperate. They’re growing fruit and corn.” He visited a cockfight, swam in the river and observed a family caring for a dying elder.

Unfortunately, rural sustainability in Haiti has been undermined for decades by the free trade economic policies of the United States. Cheap imported food replaced local produce, forcing many of Haiti’s farmers off of the hand and into the capital in a desperate search for scarce jobs — ultimately a decisive factor in the large number of quake casualties among the urban poor. BagNews explored these terrible ironies here last February.

What strikes me, then, about these photographs, is this sense of possibility and beauty far from the madding crowd.

–Alan Chin

PHOTOGRAPHS by BRENDAN HOFFMAN

Captions:

(middle) Sale Bien Louissant chops wood to make charcoal on the side of Mornediable mountain on July 16, 2010 in Corail Henri.

(bottom) A river flows after sunset on July 15 2010 in Gador.

About the Photographer

Brendan Hoffman

Brendan Hoffman (b. Albany, NY, 1980) is a photographer based in Washington, DC. He began his career in 2007 after working at a desk for several years in the non-profit sector. He divides his time between client and personal work. Assignments often involve covering news and politics for publications such as TIME magazine or the New York Times. His personal projects reflect his interest in the ways in which economic and political structures shape modern society. His ongoing project “Stand the Middle Ground” is an exploration of contemporary middle class America in the context of free trade and the decline of manufacturing in a small Iowa town. Brendan has received awards for his photography from Pictures of the Year International, the White House News Photographers Association, and other organizations. He has worked in a variety of countries for both editorial and NGO clients, and is a co-founder of Prime. See more of Brendan's work for BagNews here.

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