Haiti – Perpetual Liberation
by Thomas Kern
Haiti – Perpetual Liberation will be published in September 2016 by the publishers of Scheidegger & Spiess in Zürich. There will be 3 language versions: German, English and Kreyol. What started out as an assignment for DU magazine back in 1997 has accompanied me throughout my life as a photographer for the past 17 years.
In 1804 Haiti became the first independent state in Latin America. Before the successful slave uprising it was the most profitable foreign property of the French or any European colonial empire at the time. Today about 80% of the population lives in dire poverty with less than 2 US$ a day. Over the years I have tried to document the daily fight of Haitians against poverty, ecological degradation, natural disasters and political instability. Discretely, but close to the people, my images show life in one of the poorest countries. The comprehensive collection of b/w photographs tells the story of the great daily effort to achieve little success and the resources of the spiritual world of vodou.
The photography is done, the images are all there. The book however has yet to be conceived. I am going on this trip together with the experienced designers of hi, Megi Zumstein and Claudio Barandun. This is not our first collaboration, we have worked together before on my first book – A DRUG FREE LAND. I look forward to an intensive search for the best possible design for our book.
For the two main texts I have decided to invite Haitian writer Yanick Lahens and the Swiss author and philosopher Georg Brunold.
Yanick Lahens lives in Haiti. She was born in Port au Prince before moving to France where she was educated at the Sorbonne. Her writing is uncompromising in its portrayal of life in the Caribbean. In 2014 Yanick Lahens was awarded France’s Prix Femina literary prize.
Georg Brunold was born in Arosa, Switzerland. He was deputy editor-in-chief of the cultural magazine DU and a correspondent for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Brunold is the author of reportages and essays about Africa, the Arab world and the history of journalism.
Why should you support this project?
Of all the places I have seen as a photographer, Haiti is by far the one that has touched me the most. It acts as a mirror – and it is everything I did not know in the world I was coming from. This is enough to make it exceptional. But Haiti and it’s people have not only touched me, they have also changed me in many ways. Something I would like to pass on with this book.
What started out as a journalistic project that was initially funded through assignment work, has long ago gone beyond these categories. For the past few years my work in Haiti was mostly self-funded. The book production costs are partly covered by private funding, supporting organizations and Swiss foundations. However, I am still missing 18’000 CHF in order to get everything done. Support me in this final push to raise a part of this money and become a part in the realisation of this important project! Together, with your help, we might do it!
- Edited by Scheidegger & Spiess, Zürich
- Design and editing by Zumstein, Barandun, Olonetzky und Kern.
- Book format approximately 15x20 cm.
- Approximately 150 images printed on high quality 150gsm paper.
- Cloth covered softcover, with three textbooks in a slipcover.