ARTS & CULTURE
09/24/2013 08:45 am ET Updated Sep 24, 2013

Paolo Woods Gives Us A Very Different Glimpse Into The Lives Of Haiti's People

Radio personalities dressed in powder blue nun habits, men in pirate costumes rallying during a presidential inauguration, mansion owners lounging by their backyard pools -- these are not the images we usually associate with the earthquake-raddled lands of Haiti. Nevertheless, these are the types of scenes that photographer Paolo Woods has opted to share with us, giving us a varied and unfamiliar glimpse into the life of contemporary Haitians.

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The series, titled "State," explores the day to day life of Haiti, a country ravaged by natural disaster in 2010 and subsequently worn away by an ineffective government ever since. Capturing snapshots of seemingly mundane members of Haitian society at the nail salon or a graduation ceremony, the images embody an effort to capture a unique side of the country that stands in stark contrast to the destruction and relief narratives familiar to us all.

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Born of Canadian-Dutch descent, Woods settled in the Caribbean country in 2010, fixing his lens on the residents of the southern Haiti city of Les Cayes. In the past, the photographer has gravitated towards developing populations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia and Nigeria, focusing on the lesser known habits and daily activities of Chinese industrialists in Africa or the emerging female entrepreneurs in Moscow. Like these projects, "State" endeavors to shed light on alcoves of civil society that function, in one way or another, in the face of chaotic state-run operations.

"State" will be on view at Musee de L'Elysee until January 5, 2014 and New York's Photoville this month. The photos are also available in a book of the same name, published by Photosyntheses.

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