PART SEVEN IN A SERIES OF POSTS DISCUSSING PHOTOGRAPHERS’ ACTIONS AND RESPONSES TO THE KILLING OF FABIENNE CHERISMA IN PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI ON THE 19TH JANUARY 2010.

Last month, Swedish photographer Paul Hansen was named POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year. The month before – from Jan 16th until Jan 28th – Hansen was in Haiti .

Photo: Paul Hansen

Fabienne was shot at approximately 4pm. What had you photographed earlier that day?
I was in the city of Leogane earlier that day to cover the destruction. Later in the afternoon I covered the ongoing looting in central Port-au-Prince

Did you see Fabienne get shot?
No.

How long was it until her family and father arrived to carry away Fabienne’s corpse?
I don´t really remember, and I don’t know exactly when she got shot – but from the time I got up on the roof until her father arrived I estimate it took around half an hour. But, the stress and trauma of the situation makes that estimate shaky.

How many other photographers did you see at the scene? Do you know the photographers’ names?
I saw five or six, but perhaps there was more. It was a very fluid situation. I know two of them – Jan Grarup and Jan Dagö, both Danish.

Did you discuss the tragedy with other journalists?
I discussed it mostly with my Swedish colleagues at the time, and I still discuss it today.

How was the atmosphere? How did others behave?
The atmosphere was very fluid and potentially dangerous, a young girl had just been shot in the head by somebody, and we were standing in the same spot. What baffles me is that the looting continued around this poor girl and that some of the other looters stole money from her hand and poked the body so that she started to slide/roll down towards us (photographers)  – it was a very tragic thing to witness. How traumatized and desperate must these people be to act in this manner?

How does Fabienne’s death fit in with the visual narratives of Haiti’s earthquake aftermath?
I don´t really understand the question. If there is there something that “fits with the visual  narrative of a disaster” in general I do not know what that would be. However, having said that, I think it is extremely tragic that a young girl had to die like that. For me, Fabienne’s death and her story is an poignant reminder of the need for a society to have basic security – with or without a disaster.

Anything else?
The more attention Haiti gets, the better. Fabienne’s death is to me an unnecessary tragedy  – on top of the larger tragedy.

If the security would have been in place, an earthquake survivor like Fabienne and many more would be alive. I photographed several people killed by the mob/police/security personnel. The death of this little girl, killed over some decorative trinkets, saddens me deeply and affects me to this day. I frequently talk about her with readers, colleagues and friends.

I will never forget that horrible day.

Fabienne's mother, Amante Kelcy, after seeing Fabienne's dead body. Photo Paul Hansen

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ALSO IN THE ‘PHOTOGRAPHING FABIENNE’ SERIES

Part One: Fabienne Cherisma (Initial inquiries, Jan Grarup, Olivier Laban Mattei)
Part Two: More on Fabienne Cherisma (Carlos Garcia Rawlins)
Part Three: Furthermore on Fabienne Cherisma (Michael Mullady)
Part Four: Yet more on Fabienne Cherisma (Linsmier, Nathan Weber)
Part Five: Interview with Edward Linsmier
Part Six: Interview with Jan Grarup

Part Eight: Interview with Michael Winiarski
Part Nine: Interview with Nathan Weber
Part Ten: Interview with James Oatway
Part Eleven: Interview with Nick Kozak
Part Twelve: Two Months On (Winiarski/Hansen)
Reporter Rory Carroll Clarifies Some Details
Part Fourteen: Interview with Alon Skuy
Part Fifteen: Conclusions

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