Haiti: Photographers’ Love Affairs With a Country on the Brink

TIME

For decades, as Haiti has weathered political upheavals, coups d’état, economic crises and natural catastrophes—including the devastating earthquake that killed more than 160,000 people in 2010—photographers have nurtured an enduring, and at times tense, relationship with the small Caribbean country.

Haiti’s vibrant society, pulsating energy and stunning light, combined with its tragic and violent history, consistently attract photographers of all ages and nationalities. Many of them are inspired by Alex Webb’s seminal work Under a Grudging Sun, which continues, to this day, to influence their aesthetics.

Webb’s first trip to Haiti, back in 1975, transformed him—both as a photographer and as a human being. “I photographed a kind of world I had never experienced before, a world of emotional vibrancy and intensity: raw, disjointed, sometimes beautiful, often tragic,” he tells TIME. “I encountered a world that kept drawing me back, again and again.”

“I have this idea that…

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