The editors gratefully acknowledge the cooperation, enthusiasm and support of the photographers and writers for this issue. In addition, many people gave generously of their time and thought. In Port-auPrince: Claudia Danies, Gesner Armand of the Musée d’Art Hatien, Emeline Desert of the Agence Haitienne de Photos, Phillippe Dodard, Rodney Flaubert of the Centre d’Art, Maidon deFly, Issa El Saieh, Marie Lourde Elgirus, Michelle Mauvel, Richard Morse, Max Paul, Maryse Polynice, Marie Marguerite Sales, Angelot Sibert, Robin Smith, Eleanor Snare, Tiga, Luce Tippenhauer, Alix Toyo, Etzer Vilaire, Alice Villard, Gilda Vital, Marie Therese Vital.
Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are courtesy of, and copyright by, the artists. Cover photograph by Maggie Steber, courtesy of the artist and JB Pictures; pp. 16 photographs by Jim Tynan, courtesy of the artist and Archive Pictures Agency;
A visitor arrives in Port-au-Prince. She exits from the plane onto concrete shimmering with heat. On the airport roof, in the fierce sun, a waiting crowd of hundreds jams against the chain-link fence as a single body. By the terminal door a band plays "Yellow Bird," the musicians in matching flowered shirts.
Haiti can be, and has been, a difficult place for foreigners to visit. Inexplicable things happen there, or you think that they are inexplicable. In the evenings when it is almost cool, up in Cap Haitien, men in light jerseys run backwards up hills.
Maya Deren's beautiful eyes stare out dreamily from the back cover of Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti. They look at once innocent and too knowing. She had used them keenly as avantgarde filmmaker with Luis Bunuel, and then for three years in the late '40s as acolyte in a Vodou temple in the Haitians backcountry called Cul-de-Sac.
SERVING THE SPIRITS ACROSS TWO SEAS: Vodou Culture in New York and Haiti
America's fascination with Voodoo has more to do with our collective anxieties than with reality. Most people think they know something about Voodoo from watching horror films. Isn’t it basically a form of black magic, where primitive people stick pins in dolls to harm their enemies?
Rarely has the portal, the moment of passage from ordinary to revolutionary time, been so well captured in a single image: At the wheel of the gray BMW sits the young dictator, well-dressed, prosperous, slightly overweight, his face impassive, his shoulders thrown back; he has spent all but five of his thirty-four years in the Palace, fifteen of them as President-for-Life, having been inaugurated, at his dying father's insistence, as a mountainously obese, glassy-eyed teenager.
"Kodak" by Haitian poet F. Morisseau-Leroy provocatively points up the difference between the relationship of Haitians "caught" by the roving camera of the tourist and the way Haitians respond to the formal photographic studio camera.
In our country there is a little flower the peasants call the Ten O'Clock They say it opens each morning right at the stroke of ten. It's a small flower without pretensions, neither large nor sweet-smelling, and it grows wherever it can— in the woods and along the mountain path.
Out of the dark air, a houngan's Clarinsoaked hands clap magically with cool blue flames. Krik? Krak! The ancestors begin the tale. "We've always known that the world is governed by magic. The magic is clean and if we follow the rules sometimes we can accomplish miracles."
A ONE-WOMAN SHOW: An Interview with Marie Yolande St. Fleur
Marie Yolande St. Fleur is the only Haitian woman working as a photojournalist in Port-au-Prince. Besieged by foreign journalists and photographers during times of political upheaval, the country is periodically returned to a small group of working Haitians to document the daily political, social, and environmental struggle.
P.F. BENTLEY photographs for Time Magazine. In 1984 and 1988 he was awarded First Place in the Pictures of the Year Competition. JERRY BERNDT has received three Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation Fellowships and an NEA Fellowship for his book, Missing Person.