ARCHIVED WORK OF PARTICIPATING ARTISTS & SCHOLARS
I proposed Pa Bouje Ankò: Don't Move Again for the first Ghetto Biennale, which took place in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, November – December 2009. The project questions whether it is possible for a photographer to overcome the hierarchy between first-world photographer, third-world subject, and remote viewer.
The central aspect of Pa Bouje Ankò: Don't Move Again is a roaming formal portrait studio, where members of the local community can make appointments to have their portraits made for free.
The portraits created in these makeshift studios are designed to explicitly oppose the aesthetics of tourism, reportage and photojournalism, attempting instead to shift the hierarchical relationships around those designations. While studio-based portrait photography can carry its own baggage, the parameters of the exchange between photographer and subject in this particular format are well defined and widely understood.
The first photo studio occupied an empty courtyard in the Grand Rue neighborhood of Port-au-Prince for eight days. The meaning of those images changed after the earthquake, as they become both record and memorial. That event also enlarged the focus of the project, which has evolved to include various rapidly expanding communities in Port-Au-Prince tied to reconstruction.
This new population includes volunteers, missionaries, NGO employees, additional United Nations staff, business investors, and medical personnel. I began to photograph these populations immediately after the earthquake, starting with the U.S. Infantry. On more recent trips I've focused on group portraits of the citizen's committees that have formed in each tent city, while continuing to make portraits of individual citizens. During the 2nd Ghetto Biennale, I made appointments to photograph at some NGO's in Port-au-Prince, with varying degrees of success. I also made portrait in the Grand Rue, on the same site, and in some cases, of the same people I had photographed almost exactly two years earlier for the first Ghetto Biennale.
Reconstruction has profoundly changed the population of Port-au-Prince. One of the things this population shift has thrown into high relief is the gap between how the developed world views its role and responsibility in the developing world, and how those interventions are viewed by the inhabitants of the countries in which they occur. All of this makes the politics of developed world/developing world photography that much more fraught.
The goal of Pa Bouje Ankò: Don't Move Again is to produce a series of portraits where the sitters appear both complexly and authentically human and the political background to the portraits is evidenced and mapped out in the variegated subjects, culminating in a more nuanced and complicated picture of Haiti at this particular moment in time.
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Enquiries & questions contact: Leah Gordon at:
ARTISTS & SCHOLARS
A*BOUT A BOOK: Silke Bauer, Irina Novarese & Viola Thiele
Anderson Family: Peter Anderson, Clare Cameron, Esme Anderson & Mary Anderson
Candice Lin, Phillip Mayles & Racine Polycarpe
Erin Durban & Shannon Randall
Frau Fiber & Jonas Labaze
Ghetto Architects: Vivian Chan, Maccha Kasparian, Yuk Yee Phang
Gina Cunningham &
John Cussans & Alex Louis
Karen Miranda Augustine & Ketty Paul
Kwynne Johnson & Paul Klein
Maureen Tovey & Arcade Fire
OKIPASYON: Joyce Ip, Jason Metcalf & Roberto Peyre
Piroska É Kiss
Robert Gomez &
Romel Jean Pierre
Sasha Huber & Petri Saarikko
Enquiries and questions contact
Leah Gordon at: