You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Interview’ tag.

American Suburb X republished an Art Voice interview with Bruce Jackson.

Bruce Jackson is one of the greats of prison photography, up there with Danny Lyon, Deborah Luster and Alan Pogue.

Jackson: “The people who are in penitentiaries are no different than the people outside, except that they’ve done a certain thing that got them classified as the kind of person that goes to the penitentiary. But they’re in a penitentiary, and being in a penitentiary does something to people. It puts you in a position. All the things that Foucault writes about—about power and what it does and the way it’s used—are there. Prison is a place where power rules. Prison is about power; if it were not, people would walk out the gate. You see it in the way people walk and in people’s faces and the way they present themselves.”

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Last month, Giacomo Cosua from POSI+TIVE Magazine got in touch to see if I’d be amenable to an interview about my project here at Prison Photography.

I duly agreed.

It has been a while since I took a step back for an objective look. And – believe it or not – it is the first time someone has asked me to name Prison Photography‘s best article.

Thanks should also go out to Melania Comoretto, Sasha Maslov, Nathalie Mohadjer, Steve Davis, Robert Gumpert, Yana Payusova and the girls of Remann Hall for their images to illustrate the piece.

PART NINE 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.

Nathan Weber was in Haiti  from January 14th to January 21st.

Fabienne was shot at approximately 4pm. What had you photographed earlier that day?
Prior to being in the area where Fabienne was shot we had been searching for the mass graves and visiting the port area. We walked from the port area through one of the markets to investigate looting. It was there on the street Rue Marthely Seiee that everything went down.

Once we made it down the streets we came to this area (a ghetto, as it was explained to me) where a large number of people were coming down the street at a fast pace. At that point we heard gun shots and proceeded 1.5 blocks in the direction of the gun fire where several police were standing at an intersection. From that intersection, I could see more police trying to disperse looters and we headed to a destroyed structure.

The structure’s roof acted as a ramp that people used to gain access to other rooftops in order to scavenge and take anything they could carry. After a few minutes we decided to climb up and onto that collapsed building to make pictures from a different angel and see just what was up there. Roughly 15 to 20 minutes passed and when most of the police headed away from the collapsed building used to access rooftops to arrest some people around the corner. For whatever reason I didn’t follow and stayed put on the roof.

Did you see Fabienne get shot?
I remember looking down on the street and there was a lone officer pointing his pistol up into the air in my general direction. I don’t remember hearing a gun shot but out of the corner of my eye probably 15 to 20 feet away I saw a girl fall. The roof I was standing on was somewhat steep, slippery and was covered with small granular pieces of concrete. At first I thought she had slipped and knocked herself unconscious as I had seen others fall and didn’t think much about it until I went over to check on her. To my disbelief I realized she wasn’t breathing and I discovered a large head wound. At that point my fixer was yelling for me come down from the roof as things were heating up down the street. I looked and him, gave a hand signal indicating that something very bad had just happened and stayed put. Within a couple of minutes several photographers were upon the rooftop and shooting the scene of Fabienne’s body.

How long was it until her family and father arrived to carry away Fabienne’s corpse?
It wasn’t very long maybe 20 minutes at the most before word spread to Fabienne’s family and her father arrived on scene.

How many other photographers did you see at the scene? Do you know the photographers’ names?
The picture below shows that scene where all the photographers in the area ascended. The only photographers I know in this picture are Ed Linsmier and Michael Mullady. I think there was only one other American journalist there and everyone else was from Norway, Mexico, France, etc.

© Nathan Weber

How was the atmosphere?
The atmosphere was pretty intense. This is the most high emotion environment I have ever been in. At one point I felt that we all needed to back off and stop shooting. I thought that the pictures have been made and stepping away from the scene was in order. I also gave thought to heading back to the hotel and transmitting my images. Until this point there hadn’t been a youth death involved in looting and I knew that I would be an important news story. I am so glad I didn’t leave and I waited to see what would happen.

How did others behave?
Everyone of the photographers on the scene were very professional. We all worked together to document the situation and did our best not to add or take away from the environment. Basically, we all acted within the Society of Professional Journalists (SP&J) ethics and guidelines.

Did you discuss the tragedy with other photographers?
I didn’t really discuss the tragedy with any of the photographers at the time, or at a later date. I know that for myself being focused on the scene and doing my best to capture what was going there kept me somewhat removed. It wasn’t until being back in the States that I broke down to my girlfriend about Fabienne’s death. It was extremely senseless and there was absolutely no reason for her to have been killed. As I understand this is a common thing in Haiti, and there is very little recourse if any for this type of incident.

How does Fabienne’s death fit in with the visual narratives of Haiti’s earthquake aftermath?
I think Fabienne’s death shows when there are environments that have total chaos, the only thing you can count on is uncertainty. The visual representation here is a snapshot of what people in Haiti are dealing with.

I’m not sure what will become of the images, where they will be used or their legacy. If nothing else maybe our coverage of what happened to Fabienne will show her actions of survival were not in vain.

WEBER’S VIDEO

Nathan Weber has put together footage from before, during and after Fabienne’s shooting. (Content warning) Fabienne’s death is put in the context of the disorder of Port-au-Prince at the time.

Click on the frame below to be taken to Weber’s  footage.

NOTE: Weber’s footage includes images of Fabienne’s dead body upon the roof, her father carrying her down the street away from the scene and the beginning of her family’s mourning. The footage is extremely descriptive. It is graphic in the sense that it shows a dead body. It is not  bloody. It is very emotive.

I know that some people won’t want to see the footage and others will question its distribution. I am providing a link because it was provided to me. It is a accurate indicator of the atmosphere in LaVille on the 19th January, and in that regard a needed piece of evidence in the reconstruction of events.


– – –

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 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

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

– – –

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

PART SIX 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.

Jan Grarup was in Haiti from January 14th to 26th January.

In the central part of Port au Prince, looting is getting worse. Desperate people rob the stores and warehouses. Police try maintain law and order but can not control the increasing crowds. Tuesday, January 19th. Photo: Jan Grarup/NOOR Images

Fabienne was shot at approximately 4pm. What had you photographed earlier that day?
Mainly looting, things were going crazy in the center of Port-au-Prince.

Did you see Fabienne get shot?
Yes. I even think I photographed the police officer who shoot her.

How long was it until her family and father arrived to carry away Fabienne’s corpse?
Approximately, 30 to 40 minutes.

Osama Cherisma, Fabienne's father carries her away after followed by his son, Jeff (18) and his daughter, Amanda (13). Photo: Jan Grarup/NOOR Images

How many other photographers did you see at the scene? Do you know the photographers’ names?
I would guess about eight photographers. I know of at least five of them – Paul Hansen from Sweden, Jan Dago from Jyllands Posten … I’ll have to check the others.

How was the atmosphere? How did others behave?
Looting continued without stopping even when she was lying dead on the rooftop.

Did you discuss the tragedy with other photographers?
No, not really, it was a bad and very sad thing.

How does Fabienne’s death fit in with the visual narratives of Haiti’s earthquake aftermath?
It showed how desperate people were in order to survive.

Photo: Jan Grarup / NOOR Images

– – –

Jan Grarup is a photographer for NOOR Images. His portfolio of images from Haiti can be viewed here (Content warning). Images of and around the time of Fabienne’s shooting are on pages 1, 2 and 3.

Jan is working on a larger body of work about Fabienne but is not willing yet to offer any details.

– – –

The mentioned Jan Dago, Jyllands Posten photojournalist, could not be reached for interview. His dispatch can be viewed here (Content warning).

– – –

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 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

PART FIVE 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.

Edward Linsmier was in Haiti from January 15th to January 20th.

Members of the public on a collapsed roof moments prior to Fabienne's fatal shooting. Photo: Edward Linsmier

Fabienne was shot at approximately 4pm. What had you photographed earlier that day?
Michael Mullady, Nathan Weber and I were all traveling around together while in Haiti. Earlier that day we had made our way to the airport, hired a fixer and driver, been to the mass graves, fired our fixer and driver, met up with our old fixer and made our way downtown. We photographed at the General Hospital (it’s also worth noting that Eric Beecroft at the Foundry Workshops donated about $350 worth of badly needed medical supplies to the General Hospital, which we were able to deliver in person), the port and we were making our way back through LaVille (where the Iron Market is) towards the Presidential Palace when we walked into the crowds looting and heard the gunshots.

Policemen had been instructed to fire high into the air to disperse members of the public. Photo: Edward Linsmier

Three members of the public take cover presumably from shots fired on a collapsed roof. Photo: Edward Linsmier

Edward describes the lead up to Fabienne’s death on the Adjustment Layer blog:
Soon lines of people began gathering goods seized from the bowels of the destroyed buildings. We followed the line up onto a downed roof top that led to the exposed insides of several shops filled with the scavenging and excited crowd. We were making pictures. Some people briefly yelled at us not to take their picture but hesitated to stay around long enough to enforce their requests. More gunshots filled the air. We couldn’t tell where they were coming from but they seemed close.

There was a commotion from not far down the street. The fixer motioned for me to come because the police had caught a man and had him down on the ground. I, in turn, motioned for my friend and fellow photographer, Nathan Weber, who was still on the slanting concrete rooftop to follow me to the commotion down the road. I yelled his name and he looked at me with a blank stare. Nathan is someone who is on point in a situation such as this. He communicates quickly, clearly and with authority when needed. He is no stranger to photographing in similar situations but something of this magnitude was new to both of us. I knew he heard me and figured he would be right behind me as I headed down to the commotion.

I began photographing a man on the ground and the fixer stood near us and began translating what the police were saying into English, all the while keeping a keen eye on our surroundings. Then someone ran past our fixer and said something in Creole. Our fixer then yelled to us that someone had been shot where we had just been. We ran maybe 50 yards back and climbed back up on the roof to see Nathan in almost the exact same spot where I last saw him, except he was looking at a girl who was lying face down on the slanting concrete roof. As best as I can recall, Nathan spoke in short sentences, “I saw her fall. I thought she tripped and knocked herself out. She’s dead. Fuck. She got shot. I was right here.”

The decision to continue making photographs was instinctual. More photographers showed up and we were all making pictures, composing the dead girl in the foreground as the looters continued to walk past her, almost over her, carrying whatever they could. Several men stopped to turn her over, seemingly to identify the body. They gently took her arms and almost had to twist her just a little to face her upward. They looked at her with little emotion and left. She had been shot in the head. From what I could tell, the bullet entered her cheek and exited from the back of her head. The blood had been pooling in some picture frames she was carrying when she fell. After the men moved her, the blood began to run down the slanting concrete roof towards us. We all were still making pictures. To anybody else, it must have looked sick, a crowd of photographers vying for the best position to tell the story of the death of a girl.

Edward recalls a detail he had forgotten for the Adjustment Layer interview:
I had almost forgotten completely about the individual that came up and literally took the money out of Fabienne’s lifeless grip. Upon looking back through my digital take, I have a sequence of a teenage boy coming up and taking the money.

Member of the public peers at Fabienne's body. Photo: Edward Linsmier

Did you discuss the tragedy with other photographers?
During a lull in photographing Fabienne, I spoke briefly with a photographer from Canada, perhaps the Toronto paper, and asked him how he was doing. It was a hot day and all of the photographers had been working hard as it was a decently fast-paced situation even before the shooting. We were both kneeling, facing away from the body and he said that he was a little shaken up. I think several of us were shaken up for multiple reasons. First and foremost, we were all photographing a young girl who had just been shot and killed. But I think we were also shaken up because within the last five minutes no less than three or four of us photographers had walked those exact same steps Fabienne was walking when she was gunned down.

How long was it until her family and father arrived to carry away Fabienne’s corpse?
I could check the timestamps on my digital files but I believe from the time Fabienne was shot until the father came to pick her up was about 20 minutes, perhaps 25 minutes.

Osama Cherisma, Fabienne's father (back right), and others carry Fabienne's corpse. Photo: Edward Linsmier

How many other photographers did you see at the scene? Do you know the photographers’ names?
I would estimate that there were anywhere from 6-10 photographers that photographed at various points throughout Fabienne’s death and journey home. I do not know any other full names of the photographers except for Michael Mullady, Nathan Weber and myself.

The atmosphere among the photographers was very professional. The feeling in the air was that this was something important and we were all going to do the best job we could in covering it. It was rather intense. We tried to stay out of each other’s frames and share the best angles when we could. I have to say that I was impressed with the other photographers there. They all seemed to care very much about what they were doing and they were all working very hard, hustling to get every shot they could.

How was the atmosphere? How did others behave?
As far as I know of the situation, all the photographers were very respectful of the situation. As I mentioned before, I did not experience any sort of backlash from the people we were photographing at all. As chaotic as the situation was, I felt that they were very open to us and even glad we were there.

Samantha Cherisma mourns and screams over her sister's body in the street. Photo: Edward Linsmier

How does Fabienne’s death fit in with the visual narratives of Haiti’s earthquake aftermath?
Any story like this, where people have been killed or are suffering, deserves to be done correctly and to be done correctly you need to have resources. I don’t necessarily mean monetary resources, but definitely enough to hire a fixer/translator on the ground. I don’t know if anything our fixer did saved our lives, but he kept us from harm’s way and without him, we definitely would not have made the pictures we made that day of Fabienne.

As far as how Fabienne’s death fits into the story of the earthquake – I think it’s an all too tragic piece of the puzzle. The Haitian people are some of the most resilient I’ve ever met. Most of them lead incredibly tough lives. Their own government has all but abandoned them. They have been deprived of so much that we take for granted. I think it was only natural for people to loot. Most Haitians live on less than $1US per day. They saw a chance to gain possessions that most of them would never otherwise be able to afford. I’m not saying it was right or okay to loot, I’m just saying that I understand why there were doing it.

Anything to add?
Something else worth noting – Our fixer was on the roof with the group of photographers after Fabienne had been shot. The police were still shooting and someone had the forethought to ask our fixer to yell to the police that journalists were on the roof and not to fire in that direction any longer. I look back on it and realize how important that was. Some of us automatically think we are excluded from danger in a situation like that but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m not saying we didn’t make any mistakes that day, but I want to emphasize how important it is to go into a situation like that as prepared as possible.

Cherisma or Geichmar?
[For the Adjustment Layer interview] I failed to include Fabienne’s name in my description of events. I cannot 100% guarantee the accuracy of the spelling of the name as I have seen it differently elsewhere. My caption information for my photos with the info our fixer provided for us (he had a pen and paper and was talking to family members) is as follows:

“Fabienne Geichmar, 15, was fatally shot by a stray bullet while looting from a store on Rue Marthely Seiee in the LaVille section of Port au Prince. Violence and looting have been commonplace in downtown Port au Prince since shortly after the earthquake that devastated the Haitian capital.”

I’m not sure why I wrote that it was a stray bullet… I think because that’s what I wanted to believe and also because I could not confirm that police had shot her.

– – –

Edward will be in Haiti a second time from the 18th to 26th March.

View Linsmier’s images from his first stint in Haiti.

– – –

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 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

While much recent debate has been about if bloggers, indie-writers and stopgap-journos can find ways to make money, Brian Ulrich asks if many of us actually deserve to:

“It’s become fairly commonplace for one to put together a website or blog. Ask several questions of an artist by email, spellcheck and publish them.”

and

“An interview is not a questionnaire and all too many of these interviews are distilled down to a manufactured series of questions where it may even be obvious that the person asking the questions hasn’t even looked to see if those questions were answered somewhere else before. ‘What got you interested in photography?’, ‘tell me some of the inspiration behind your current project _____’, etc…. I hasten to say it but we would not stand for that sort of journalism in the printed press why should we stand for it online?”

and

“I feel we have a responsibility as publishers and broadcasters of media today. If we’re going to do it, let’s make it right, give us something we can learn from.”

[Bolding mine.]

© Daniel Morel / Corbis

Amidst the all the coverage of Haiti, I have found the interviews and words of photojournalists (eg. Damon Winter; Melissa Lyttle) FAR more interesting and informing than the images.

What an essential privilege to hear Haitian photographer Daniel Morel speak about not only his placement during the earthquake, but also the behaviour of the media, the complaints of Haitians toward said media and where he and Haiti go from here.

If I am going to put weight on any opinion it is Morel‘s.

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