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COLORS has been a favourite of mine since their PRISONS Issue #50. By chance I picked up a copy of the Spring 2013 COLORS magazine, Issue #86 MAKING THE NEWS.

Issue #86 is a cracker of an issue: North Korea, Al Qaeda’s film production house, surveillance, Tahrir Square, El Narco Blog,  Pakistani drone attack survivors’ photographs, Will Steacy’s photos of a dead Philadelphia Inquirer and James Mollison’s images from Sierra Leone; the issue deals with heavy topics and uncomfortable imagery.

Also uncomfortable, is the scene of Fabienne Cherisma’s corpse atop a collapsed cement rooftop in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on the 19th January, 2010 (one week after the massive Haiti earthquake). The scene was captured by multiple photojournalists, whose images COLORS features over 4 pages. They are online here.

The photographs and the circumstances in which they were made are very familiar to me. Between January 27th and April 8th, 2010, I published a fifteen-part series (beginning here) about the photos and photographers activities. In short-shrift, from a desktop in Seattle, I uncovered the similar photographs by scouring the wires, agency websites and news feeds. I interviewed a dozen of the photographers on scene.

The scene of Fabienne splayed out was — and remains — stark. It is one of the more indelible images to emerge from the natural and social disaster. So, the image was known but it’s dissection and the placement of multiple photographers’ works was done by me. My inquiries accelerated the image and the stories into the public sphere (the posts remain the most visited of Prison Photography; approximately 240,000 page views all-in-all). If my work had not put the story of Fabienne’s death and its photojournalist treatment into the spotlight maybe the awards that came later for three of the photographers would?

I was surprised to make the discovery of those images of Fabienne within the pages of COLORS. More than that, I was bothered. Why was I perturbed? I don’t own the images and I certainly don’t own the story. I’ve not been wronged.

In short, the problem for me is COLORS treatment. They could not have researched the piece without being aware of my 15-part series. COLORS doesn’t deal with the issue in any depth. In fact, they rely on the images to drive the segment and then raise the question of ethics without really providing their own position. Of the images Nathan Weber’s image of the photographers surrounding Fabienne’s body is printed larger and with prominence. Are we incited by the image? Has COLORS forfeited a nuanced handling the images, and thus the story?

Prison Photography was the first to publish Nathan Weber’s image; without doubt that was the image that launched many hyperbolic statements about the depravity of Western photojournalism. So, maybe if I hadn’t contacted Weber directly and asked him specifically about the circumstances perhaps he would never have sent that image to me … or anyone? That’s a question for Weber.

I guess, at heart, I am protective of the story. There’s so many sides to the coverage of Fabienne’s death that I don’t like to see it reduced to an over-simplified “it-was-wrong/it-was-what-it-is” argument. COLORS barely takes us past that.

Finally, I am bothered by COLORS‘ passive use of an abbreviated Weber quote that describes the circulation of the many images of Fabienne thusly:

“Even though grouping together is common for photographers in dangerous situations, many in the international photojournalist community were unhappy with having “their laundry aired in public.”

Prison Photography was the root and the source for the extended debate about these pictures. I brought the issue to the international community. All the feedback that I received for my digging and analysis was, without exception, positive. Readers were thankful to have had the scene looked at from the multiple angles, appreciated my interviews with the photographers, and understood more deeply the complexity of the situation.

No one felt that I was hanging-out photojournalists or photojournalism to dry. Pick any laundry metaphor you wish, it was not my experience reporting the story that people were upset. To suggest that the photojournalist community was irritated by having this public discussion is, frankly, insulting.

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Last week, Danish photojournalist Jan Grarup was awarded the Oskar Barnack Leica Award 2011 for Haiti Aftermath.

COLOUR VS. BLACK AND WHITE

Grarup tells TIME.com: “I want to put some focus on what is going on in other places in the world. […] When you try to photograph things from perspective, you get a little more in-depth of what is happening.”

So, I guess my question is ‘Does colour not exist in the other places of the world?’ Grarup originally shot the images in colour, converting to B&W in post-production. It should be said that not all images in his Barnack entry are part of the original dispatch and so there is a (slight) chance those files were made originally in B&W. [UPDATE 06.22.11, 10:00PST. It could be that as Grarup shot in RGB, and had his screen displaying B&W. It could be that he never intended to use colour. Yet, everything’s colour still, as you look at it through the viewfinder.]

I include shots from his 136-image portfolio, dispatched to his agency NOOR briefly after his stint in Haiti, so you can compare them with the B&W images of his winning portfolio. I’m not here to argue for or against colour and/or B&W – I just want to provide a starting point for conversation.

FABIENNE CHERISMA

As part of my ongoing inquiry into the photojournalism surrounding Fabienne Cherisma’s death, Grarup offered Prison Photography a brief Q&A in March 2010.

Grarup took several photographs of Fabienne Cherisma dead on the collapsed roof-top; it’s an image, I argue, is both multi-authored and synonymous with the Haiti earthquake. Grarup did not include such an image in his Barnack entry, but did include a photograph of Fabienne’s brother and sister over her corpse after she’d been retrieved from the rooftop.

JUROR CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

And to the main issue at hand. Jan Grarup, a member of NOOR Images, was given the award by a five-person jury. One of the jurors was Stanley Greene, a member of NOOR Images.

I should say that, by my reckoning, NOOR is one of the most responsible photo agencies I’ve looked at; it’s stories impress me consistently and they have a couple of my preferred photographers on staff. This is not a distant attack, but a very specific question as to how they could possibly see this one panning out without any questions being asked.

Moreover, the Oskar Barnack Award (OBA) either shouldn’t have allowed Greene on the jury, or if he was so vital to the jury process, they should’ve insisted NOOR photographers needn’t apply. Both NOOR and OBA have exposed themselves unnecessarily to ethical questions.

THE PURPOSE OF THIS POST?

1) These images provide anchors to which the endless colour vs. B&W debate can gain some focus.

2) Stanley Greene‘s role as a juror deserves to come under serious scrutiny. As a member of NOOR images, it’s difficult to ignore the conflict of interest.

3) I feel obliged to report on any news, updates and industry awards as they have concerned the photographers involved in my original inquiry.

Jan Grarup photographs police beating a looter in downtown Port-au-Prince Tuesday afternoon. © Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star.

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 Seven: Interview with Paul Hansen
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 (Matt Levitch, Felix Dlangamandla)
Part Sixteen: Fabienne Cherisma’s Corpse Features at Perpignan (Frederic Sautereau)
Part Seventeen: Brouhaha in Sweden following Award to Paul Hansen for his Image of Fabienne Cherisma (Paul Hansen, Olivier Laban Mattei, James Oatway)
Part Eighteen: A Photo of Fabienne Cherisma by Another Photographer Wins Another Award (Lucas Oleniuk)

The lifeless body of fifteen-year-old Fabienne Cherisma lies on the roof of a fallen building in downtown Port-au-Prince on January 19, 2010. Photo by Lucas Oleniuk / Toronto Star

Canadian photographer Lucas Oleniuk has been awarded a National Newspaper Award in Canada for his image of Fabienne Cherisma dead on a Port-au-Prince roof-top, one week after the Haiti Earthquake.

Eight weeks ago Paul Hansen won a national award in his home country of Sweden. In March, I wrote about Hansen’s and other photographers’ awards for coverage of Fabienne’s death – Brouhaha in Sweden following Award to Paul Hansen for his Image of Fabienne Cherisma.

That’s now five photographers recognised for their images made within the space of an hour on a Tuesday afternoon.

Photo: Nathan Weber

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 Seven: Interview with Paul Hansen
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 (04.08.2010)
Fabienne Cherisma’s Corpse Features at Perpignan (09.07.2010)
Brouhaha in Sweden following Award to Paul Hansen for his Image of Fabienne Cherisma (03.23.2011)

I knew something was going on when my blog stats spiked over the weekend. Prison Photography interviews with those who photographed Fabienne Cherisma’s body in Haiti were drawing readers … and they came from Sweden.

PAUL HANSEN’S SPoY WIN

At the Swedish Picture of the Year Awards, photojournalist Paul Hansen was recognised as International News Photographer and won the International News Image for his image of Fabienne (below).

Fifteen year-old Fabienne Cherisma was shot dead by police at approximately 4pm, January 19th, 2010. Photo: Paul Hansen

In March 2010, Hansen answered some of my questions about the circumstances of Fabienne’s death, “For me, Fabienne’s death and her story is a poignant reminder of the need for a society to have basic security – with or without a disaster.”

Paul Hansen was one of eight journalists I quizzed about that fateful day in an inquiry that revealed that 14 photographers were present immediately after Fabienne’s death.

At the time, I noted how the Swedish media and public discussed the ethics of the image and that, by comparison, similar debates were absent elsewhere.

The debate has continued following Hansen’s award, focusing on Nathan Weber’s image (below) that was first published along with my interview with Weber.

Photo: Nathan Weber

Weber’s image has unsettled many it seems. Judging by garbled Google translations here, here, and here it seems there are a few issues:
– General surprise that Weber’s image – and the revelations it brings – was not widely known before the SPoY award.
– Rhetorical questions about whether – given the scores of photographs made – Hansen’s image was “the best.”
– The expected accusations of exploitation and vulture behaviour by photographers.
– Fruitless thoughts on “truth” within this particular image.

Before they awarded Hansen, I wonder if SPoY were aware that so many photographers were present? Would it have altered the final decision? The image of Fabienne limp on the collapsed roof (whoever made a version) is the summary of innocent death, a society’s desperation and the man-made tragedies that compound natural disasters. It’s is a striking vision.

The circulation of Weber’s image has fueled skepticism toward photojournalism.

The problem with these types of brouhaha is that never are they able to measure if or what effect images – in this case Hansen’s – have. Did Hansen’s image secure a dollar amount of donations for the Haitian relief effort? Did it mobilise professionals and resources that would have otherwise not have moved?

If we are to talk about the “power of photography” then shouldn’t we expect and/or propose criteria for measuring and defining that “power”?

MICHAEL WINIARSKI, REPORTER AND HANSEN’S PARTNER

It should also be noted that Michael Winairski won the the award for News Storyteller from Dagens Nyheter, the national news outlet he and Hansen work for. When I contacted Winiarski last year about coverage of Fabienne’s death, I was particularly impressed with his transparency and commitment to the story. He and Hansen followed up two months after the killing and met with Fabienne’s family.

On receipt of the award, Winiarksi said, “”I’m glad we did not let go of Haiti. I and the photographer Paul Hansen have been back twice. And Paul is down there now with another reporter, Ole Roth Borg.”

ACCOLADES AFTER RECORDING DEATH

Paul Hansen is not the first photographer to be awarded for coverage of Fabienne’s death.

James Oatway won an Award of Excellence at POYi in the Impact 2010 – Multimedia category for Everything is Broken. Fabienne’s corpse open the piece and appears again in images 25 to 33. Olivier Laban-Mattei won the Grand Prix Paris Match 2010 for his coverage of Haiti, including the aftermath of Fabienne’s death. Fredric Sautereau was nominated for Visa d’Or News at Perpignan for his coverage of Haiti, which include seven images about Fabienne’s death.

There may be others.

© Kenneth Libbrecht. SnowCrystals.com

As heavy as the snow is falling here in Seattle, I dump these stories that I’ve noticed recently. All worth reading/seeing.

1) – The 2010 Lennart Nilsson Award (Recognizing Extraordinary Image Makers in Science) has gone to CalTach Physicist Kenneth Libbrecht. (Found via Jim)

2) – Rob Hornstra visited Abkhazia’s only prison.

3) – Moscow’s Butyrka remand prison is to install sunbeds for inmates.

4) – MIT has developed a camera that uses echos of light to see around corners. No doubt an attractive tool for SWAT teams, riot police and extraction teams in hostage situations and maybe prisons. I say this having written about ‘Through the Wall Surveillance’ before.

5) – French photographer, Olivier Laban-Mattei won the 2010 Grand Prix Paris Match for his coverage of Haiti. He was one of the many photographers who documented the death of Fabienne Cherisma. (Found via The Travel Photographer)

Edelgard Clavey, 67. First portrait: December 5 2003 / Second portrait: January 4 2004. © Walter Schels

6) – Walter Schels‘ photo project “Life Before Death”, includes 24 sets of before-and-after portraits ranging from a 17-month-old baby to a man of 83. Now on show at the Wellcome Collection, London. (More in this interview at LensCulture)

7) – More excellent opinion from John Edwin Mason, this time about the differences between the photo-op at Kenny Kunene’s lavish 40th birthday party and the responsible photography of Oupa Nkosi documenting the wealth and work of Black South Africans.

“No surprise, then, that Kunene has become the poster boy for shamelessly conspicuous consumption in county where, as the Guardian points out, 1.6% of the… population earns a quarter of all personal income.  Only 41% have a job and just 58% have attended secondary school; 9% don’t have access to water, 23% don’t have toilets and 24% don’t have electricity.  Average life expectancy is 52, the lowest since 1970. Zwelinzima Vavi, the South Africa’s most important labor leader, pointed to Kunene’s party when warning of elites who “scavenge on the carcass of our people” like hyenas.”

8 ) – Simon Sticker‘s 100 + 1 tips for the iconic Africa picture is the latest rant about stereotypes in conversation/photography on Africa.

National Photographers Association of Canada (NPAC) blog

9) – During the summer, I recommended the NPAC blog. Often working photographers will take over the posts for five posts in a week. Between the 8th and 12th November, Jen Osborne took the helm.

© Jen Osborne. Bounce is a very popular music movement originating in New Orleans, USA.  It came from the streets and is a mix between Rap, Jazz, and Electronic music.  It is popular amongst young adults due to its hard, fast and sexual nature, which inspires eccentric fashion trends.  It also appeals to the gay community because Bounce music now contains various gay entertainers.

Jen’s five days of blogging:

Day 1 – The Importance of Learning – Working on the fly with ‘Bounce’ dancers in New Orleans.
Day 2 – Bad associations can sabotage good work! – On access to Talavera Bruce prison, Rio de Janiero. Sketchy fixers, smuggled prison cellphones and released female prisoners.
Day 3 – Thinking Locally – Drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness in her home city Vancouver.
Day 4 – Vicarious Trauma – Vicarious trauma, a newly defined term applies to “wide range of people working with clients or subjects suffering from traumatic experiences; doctors, journalists, social workers, lawyers …”
Day 5 – Doing It Because You Want To – “It is important to have your own projects to work on – projects that make you as the photographer gratified. I think it is important to do meaningful work because it will always be there for you, even when the jobs aren’t.”

Great stuff.

10) – Ed Ou, reflecting on the Joop Swart Masterclass makes all young photojournalists smile with his stirring optimism:

“It is exciting to spend time with photographers from around the world and never mention the “death” of our industry. While there may be smaller budgets and fewer outlets, there will always be room for good photography. The only way to brave the bad times is to just keep shooting.”

© Ed Ou. Nurse Larissa Soboleva holds two-year-old Adil Zhilyaer in an orphanage in Serney, Kazakhstan. Adil was born blind and afflicted Infantile Cerebral Paralysis (ICP) and hydrocephalia as a result of his mother’s exposure to radiation during years of Soviet weapons testing during the Cold War. He was abandoned by his parents and is now cared for in an orphanage.


PART FIFTEEN 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.

The aftermath of the Haiti earthquake was zealously covered by the media and American networks particularly.

Several factors likely fed the saturation of disaster over the wires – Haiti’s geographic proximity; Haiti’s diaspora and cultural ties within the US; fresh memories of the controversial, US-backed coup and removal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide; and collective guilt over (or, alternatively, the collective amnesia of) the US’ corporate involvement in Haiti.

The US was going in full-yield again.

News Feature - Photographie de reportage d'actualité

The lifeless body of fifteen-year-old Fabienne Cherisma lies on the roof of a fallen building in downtown Port-au-Prince while looters file down the street on January 19, 2010. The young girl was carrying three ornamental mirrors when she was hit by a random shot from Haitian police as she walked with looters on the street. Photo by Lucas Oleniuk / Toronto Star.

WHY ONE IMAGE?

The still Fabienne Cherisma surrounded by the bustle of opportunists jolted me from my image-stupor for long enough to realise it was time to voluntarily step off the media-photo-treadmill and pay attention to a single image, a single person, a single story.

It occurred to me that this was barely a risk. If the majority of the imagery had stopped informing then I really had nothing to lose by redirecting my energies and time elsewhere.

(Please, don’t misunderstand me: I appreciate the purpose for a lot of media images, and I believe that they deliver immediate messages which catalyse reaction, donations and aid. That said, emoting a response in an audience is a distinct function to that of informing an audience.)

WHY FABIENNE?

In all honesty, I may have never have seen that image and with that in mind, I may have paid particular attention to another single victim of the earthquake. Chance? Compulsion? My “small contribution”? I don’t know. I don’t want to minimise my analysis of Fabeinne Cherisma’s death in photographs, but nor do I know exactly what it is yet …

Now, after some time, two unique things about the image of the dead Fabienne Cherisma still stand out.

In other pictures bodies were either buried, dusted, pulverised or piled high with other corpses. If they lay in the streets they were circled by onlookers. Fabienne’s body was isolated. Secondly, unlike 230,000 of her compatriots, it wasn’t the violent instability of concrete in the physical environment that killed Fabienne, it was the violent fallibility of human decision making that killed her; a bullet, from a gun, in a hand.

MAN-MADE NATURAL DISASTER

It has been said that no natural disaster is simply that, but that every disaster comprises natural and man-made factors. Man-made corruption, political instability and resultant poverty led to inadequate (if any) building codes. Just as human decisions prior to the quake cost lives, so they would after the quake.

The rainy season is about to begin in Haiti and the quality of aid, community solidarity, flood and disease abatement measures will determine how many people succumb to this second wave of elemental assault.

Fabienne, to me, was one of the first victims to fall to poor human decision-making following the earthquake. Others have perished since and unfortunately, thousands more are likely to die. (I read an estimated 5,000 people may die in the predicted mudslides, but I don’t know on which this is based – the cold calculation makes me quite uncomfortable).

Fabienne’s death was not in the earthquake but in its aftermath.

VISUAL FORENSICS

The day after seeing Garcia Rawlin‘s photograph for Reuters, I found a virtually identical image by Jan Grarup, except Fabienne’s body was positioned differently. Suddenly, time and timing was brought to bear upon Fabienne’s demise. Two photographers. Soon after, I saw the work of Olivier Laban-Mattei, whose photographs followed the family down the street as they carried the body. Three photographers.

Once I had launched my inquiry, the full picture developed quickly. An interview with Michael Mullady. Four photographers. Shortly after, Edward Linsmier discussed his experiences at the same locations. He was with Nathan Weber. Six photographers.

At this point I was already in contact with Grarup and Mullady. Garcia-Rawlins and Laban-Mattei did not respond to inquiries and have not until this day (I cannot be certain they received my inquiries). Grarup’s response mentioned Paul Hansen and Jan Dago. Eight photographers.

( Jan Dago did not respond to my inquiries. His images of Fabienne are here and this slideshow references looting in its title but actually has little of visual evidence to contribute to my inquiry.)

Hansen was also accompanied by Michael Winarski, US correspondent for Dagens Nyheter. Eight photographers, one reporter.

The next photojournalist to surface was James Oatway. Ten journalists – nine photographers, one reporter. Oatway mentioned Alon Skuy, who in turn mentioned the delayed arrival of Felix Dlangamandla upon the scene. Eleven photographers.

Meanwhile, I stumbled upon Nick Kozak‘s work and upon contacting him learnt of two other Canadian photographers present – Lucas Oleniuk and Matt Levitch (Tranbleman De Te). Fourteen photographers.

Soon thereafter, a reader alerted me to Frederic Sautereau‘s portfolio containing graphic images of disorder, skirmishes, police and Fabienne’s corpse. Fifteen photographers.

CONCLUSIONS

1.) There may well have been more photographers on the scene. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn so.

2.) A couple of photographers mentioned giving others space and trying not to get in others’ shots and avoiding getting photographers in their frames. Why? If a situation is chaotic and journalists are part of that chaos, what does it matter if photographers or journalists are in the scene?

oleniuk

Jan Grarup photographs police beating a looter in downtown Port-au-Prince Tuesday afternoon. © Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star.

Tuesday, January 19th. Photo: Jan Grarup/NOOR Images

As a small step, this mutual refusal to depict fellow professionals in the field, can be understood as the first step toward a manipulated in front of a distant audience.

The erasure of fellow media from a scene is a paradox. Journalists are required to record events as they are, but if a photographer depicts them as if he or she is working in isolation – as if from a unique one-off viewpoint – then what is delivered is not an objective, neutral description but a construction.

3.) I am not criticising the photographers who have kindly given their time, thoughts and (often) emotions to this inquiry, but I am questioning the decisions at the photodesks of mass media. I usually only see images that implicate media/photographers when the story becomes about them, when they get injured or kidnapped. Photojournalists are either the directors of a scene or the embattled hero of a scene; they are never bit-part players.

4.) I am convinced, CONVINCED, that enough evidence exists in the digital files of these fifteen photographers to identify and prosecute the policeman who fired the fatal shot.

© Alon Skuy

– – –

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 Seven: Interview with Paul Hansen
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 Sixteen: Fabienne Cherisma’s Corpse Features at Perpignan (Frederic Sautereau)
Part Seventeen: Brouhaha in Sweden following Award to Paul Hansen for his Image of Fabienne Cherisma (Paul Hansen, Olivier Laban Mattei, James Oatway)
Part Eighteen: A Photo of Fabienne Cherisma by Another Photographer Wins Another Award (Lucas Oleniuk)

PART FOURTEEN 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.

Alon Skuy, photographer for The Times in South Africa, was in Haiti from 17th – 22nd January.

Fabienne was shot at approximately 4pm. What had you photographed earlier that day?
General looting and destruction in the downtown area of Port-Au-Prince.

How many other photographers did you see at the scene? Do you know the photographers’ names?
Contrary to another article on this site, there were three South African Photographers on the scene: myself, Felix Dlangamandla and James Oatway.

How was the atmosphere? How did others behave?
The atmosphere was very tense and thick with emotion. It was quite a chaotic scene. Photographers were jostling for images. On the whole, I feel that the photographers behaved
respectfully on the scene.

Did you discuss the tragedy with other photographers?
Yes, briefly on the scene with the two other South African photographers, we were all aware of each others presence.

How long was it until her family and father arrived to carry away Fabienne’s corpse?
About 30 minutes.

How long did you follow the group as they carried her away?
For about three kilometers down the main road.

Where was their destination? How far away was that?
Their destination seemed to be a market where Fabienne’s mother, as well as other relatives may have been.

Amante Kelcy, Fabienne's Mother (in white) mourns the death of her daughter © Alon Skuy

How does Fabienne’s death fit in with the visual narratives of Haiti’s earthquake aftermath?
An important event to cover, imperative to show the desperation due to lack of aid getting through, and the inhumane fashion in which the law enforcement behaved at times. The family were obviously really distraught.

– – –

Both images © Alon Skuy. From top, Osam Cherisma mourns the death of his daughter Fabienne; Amante Kelcy, Fabienne’s mother (in white), mourns the loss of her daughter.

– – –

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 Seven: Interview with Paul Hansen
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 Fifteen: Conclusions

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

The world only knew of Fabienne Cherisma’s life in the aftermath of her death.

15-year-old Fabienne Cherisma lies dead after being shot in the head in Port-au-Prince. Photograph: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Carlos Garcia Rawlins’ photograph was used for Rory Carroll’s Guardian article, He had not picked her up since she was a toddler. Last week he carried her home (Tuesday 26th January). The article is succinct and dignified; Rory Carroll details Fabienne’s simple life and bold aspirations. For me, it remains the best news piece I have read about Fabienne and her family.

Thus, I went to the source and asked Rory to clear up some basic facts about Fabienne’s story.

PP: When did you meet with the Cherisma family?

RC: I met them on Friday 22nd January. I interviewed the parents and sister, Amanda, at their market-stall, and accompanied them to their home where we finished the interview.

PP: Who exactly, makes up Fabienne’s immediate family? I have seen many different spellings – can you verify their names?

RC: Father Osam, mother Amante Kerly, sister Amanda, brothers Ruben, Jeff, Jimmy and Biterly (not sure about spelling of latter, nor if brother or sister). (In all the photographs of the Cherismas the only brother known to us is Jeff (below). Many news outlets – including this blog – have had Amanda incorrectly referred to as Samantha)

PP: When was Fabienne buried in Zorange? What date?

RC: Wednesday 20th, the day after she was killed. (This answer is interesting as it means that Nick Kozak and the Cherismas chanced upon one another on the same day she was buried – I presume before the Cherismas left for Zorange.)

Photo: Nick Kozak, January 20, 2010

PP: What did the Cherismas intend to do.

RC: [They planned to] continue as before, working at the stall, with no plans to sue or prosecute.

PP: You said at the end of your report, “The one photo of her, in which she smiles, is lost. So is her birth certificate. The family thinks the hospital which recorded her birth was destroyed. There is no police investigation and the death is not registered. Officially, it is as if the teenager never was.” Do you think this will always be the case?

RC: Maybe not. Hopefully not – given the media attention paid to the story.

– – –

Time and time again through my investigation I have found that few, if any, options exist for the Cherismas to launch an inquiry and insist upon an accountability for Fabienne’s death. The idea that they’ll “continue as before” – as if the expectation of public awareness and criminal prosecution is unreasonable – is a travesty.

– – –

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 Seven: Interview with Paul Hansen
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)

Part Fourteen: Interview with Alon Skuy
Part Fifteen: Conclusions

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