In my last post I promised a full interview with Daniel Morel, with whom I got to spend some time in the Grand Rue of Port-au-Prince on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the earthquake. I went to Haiti to write a couple of stories about his spectacular photo exhibit, a show that was put on in, by, for, and featuring the people of the Grand Rue. Morel, now 63, grew up just down the street, and his family had a bakery there. He was sitting in this same courtyard five years ago when the earthquake hit, and some of the same neighbors and friends and family who appear in the images helped install the show. Many, if not most of those who came to the opening know personally people in the pictures.
A nice long piece I wrote appeared in german in the Suddeutsche Zeitung, and I also recorded for the BBC's "From Our Own Correspondent." You can listen to that story about sixteen and a half minutes into this MP3 file, or read it online.
The day after the very moving opening of the exhibition, Daniel and I went back to the outdoor gallery space and sat down to talk about the ideas behind the show and the painful process of reconstructing Haiti. I've lightly edited the transcript for clarity:
To me what is really interesting about this show is that the people who are in the pictures are the people who helped put the show together, and they are also the people who live around here. Could you talk about the philosophy behind that?
Do you think it is a traumatic experience for people to see these photographs, the people around here?