Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Ivanoh Demers, a photojournalist for over 20 years, returns to a subject he knows well: the earthquake that occurred in January 2010 in Haiti.

In Ivanoh’s Eye: Powerful Photos of the Haiti Earthquake by Daniel Morel

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This photo of men in distress, taken in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake of 12 January 2010, is one of the winning images of the 2011 World Press Photo competition.

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This week I met Haitian photographer Daniel Morel in Montreal. His striking images taken during the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 went around the world. A year later, Daniel Morel won two prizes during the prestigious annual World Press Photo competition.

After Daniel Morel gave an interview to my colleague Émilie Dubreuil, he showed me the images he took on January 12, 2010. Most of them have never been published.

The day of the earthquake, the photographer immediately began walking along Boulevard Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Chaos reigned in the streets. Here are some of the photos he took.

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Panic reigned in the streets of Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010.

Daniel Morel immediately points out his favorite photo. It shows an agitated crowd of Haitians moving toward it, about 45 minutes after the tremors.

I was down the street when I saw the crowd heading towards me. I started walking towards her, in the opposite direction. It was panic.

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The image is spontaneous. In the foreground, in the center of the image, we see the arm of a woman in movement. A damaged utility pole in the background contributes to the confusion. We feel the disarray, the agitation.

The principle of perfect framing is gone, but the photo is still successful. The photographer has found a certain balance in an image which, at its core, reflects a complete imbalance.

The movement is very present. A signature found in several of his images.

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A traffic light fell in the middle of the street in Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010, during a tremor.

A red traffic light, still functional, fell into the street. Electric wires are lying on the ground.

There were electric wires in the water, everywhere, it was very dangerous, underlines the photographer.

The usefulness of showing seemingly innocuous details is often underestimated. Having a range of different shots allows us to diversify our options to properly tell and understand the event.

The ground level camera gives an interesting, dynamic point of view. A man in the background closes the frame. The image shows the artistic side of the photographer.

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A fire rages on Boulevard Jean-Jacques Dessalines, nicknamed “la Grand Rue”, in Port-au-Prince, January 12, 2010.

On the day of the earthquake, it was a race against time to take photos before sunset. Mr. Morel was very aware of this. But he still took this photo.

A fire is raging. It’s blue hour – twilight – but the orange light from the fire illuminates the sky. The long exposure will create the effect of movement of passers-by in the street. The 20 mm wide-angle lens chosen by the photographer clearly shows the extent of the destruction.

His images move with us. They are alive. A concept that may seem simple, but is very difficult to achieve. What talent!

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Haitian photographer Daniel Morel now lives in Montreal.

The 12th January 2010, like Daniel Morel, I was in Port-au-Prince. I went there as part of my work, but for something else. I couldn't have expected such drama.

Every year, I see this sad anniversary coming with a certain apprehension. The fateful day arrived, around 4:50 p.m., no matter where I am, I go in circles, my brain goes in all directions, I think of that moment when the earth shook… And at 4:53 p.m., the exact time of earthquake, emotion rises. It's stronger than me.

It's a day that changed the lives of many people, including me.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">My meeting with Daniel Morel allowed me to approach this catastrophe with a new perspective, through his lens. His raw look perfectly illustrates what thousands of Haitians have experienced. His personal approach is simple, but exceptional. She helped document history for future generations.

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