Changing Haiti's Image through Photography

  • Posted by Marina Vatav
  • December 10, 2012 2:22 PM EST

Waterfalls, mountains, art, rich culture, an extraordinary cuisine, and other local wonders are those images of Haiti that almost never make it into the international news that still prefer to stress the poverty.

Eddy Bijoux, a young Haitian, who is passionate about photography, has a dream: to help change Haiti's image through photography. Even though Haiti, just like any other country, has its "sad" sides, Eddy prefers to capture the joy and beauty in his pictures.

Eddy got his business degree in Chicago to give his parents "the paper they wanted". He also attended the Full Sail School of design in Orlando where he studied digital media and computer animation. That experience was an eye opener for him; it helped him rediscover his passion for photography.

"Haiti is my home"

Even though he spent many years in the US, Eddy always wanted to return to Haiti. "Haiti is my birthplace, it's my country, it's where I feel that I am home," says Eddy.

Upon returning to Haiti, he got involved in managing the family business - a pharmaceutical agency.

Now, every morning at 6:00 am he "puts his businessman hat on". But from 5 pm to 2-3 o'clock in the morning, it's all about photography and design.

Asked, "When do you sleep?," Eddy said: "Hardly never, because when something is really your passion you don't see the time flying."

Driven by the enthusiasm of new discoveries, he explores the countryside mostly on weekends to capture its beautiful landscapes. He loves to take pictures during the golden hours: sunrise and sunset. Waterfalls are present in many of his pictures. Eddy finds them to be majestic. "You feel tiny and humble in front of it," he says.

"The people, the food, the colors, are totally different from what I see on TV, which is nothing but poverty. It does exist. It's in my face every day, but I rather freeze the moments of joy," shares Eddy.

"I see poverty everywhere I go, it can be the richest country in the world, the States or Europe. There is poverty everywhere. Haiti is no different. It is just a question of how the media portrays it, most of the times it makes us look bad."

Working on a change

Eddy believes that Haiti has to work on changing it's image internationally. His goal is to collaborate with the ministry of tourism and tourism companies in building a better name for the country, and associate Haiti with better images.

Now he is working on developing the concept of 5 images that represent Haiti and that would inspire people to fall in love with her. He is also developing a website that would present and promote a fresh look of the country through 360-degree photographs.

Eddy Bijoux believes that presenting the Vodou ceremonies from a different perspective than Hollywood has, can also play a role in "rebranding" Haiti. It may raise people's interest to come and experience a ceremony if they understand that Vodou is not about evil.

There is Hope

Even though Eddy's favorite images are the landscapes, and he is not particularly driven towards photojournalism, there is one image that captures his social interests. It's a 360-degree view of post earthquake Port-au-Prince. He manipulated the image to obtain a breathtaking contrast of white, black and blue to make the clouds stand out. The mixture between light and dark helped him convey his message: it's hard, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a brighter future for Haiti.