Emory University has recently announced that The Global Initiative for the Advancement of Nutritional Therapy (GIANT), a nonprofit organization based in Tucker, will be publishing a book of photography by Bryan Meltz. AFTER: Images from Haiti is a collection of photographs taken during the twelve months following the devastating earthquake that struck near the capital city of Port au Prince on January 12, 2010. From the hills of the Central Plateau, to the rice fields in L’Artibonite, through the streets of Cité Soleil, and inside the concertina-wired walls of an orphanage, this collection of images is intended to share the strength, resiliency, determination, and struggle that all Haitians face in a post-earthquake world.
Meltz took her first trip to Haiti’s rural Central Plateau region in March of 2010 on a week-long assignment for Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health magazine. Upon returning to the United States, she immediately wanted to go back.
At that point, Meltz says, “the media coverage had really started to subside. That’s the nature of media…to focus really hard on something for a while, and then the next thing comes along and we don’t hear anything else. When you go to Haiti, you see that it might as well have happened last week. So, I began a series of trips, staying in different places.” She wanted the photographs to be as broad as possible. “I didn’t want a collection of images just showing destruction and piles of rubble. It’s an amazing culture, an amazing place, and I wanted to give these people a voice,” she says.
“I quickly became very interested in how the rural communities were being affected by the earthquake, particularly with regards to public health, and decided to return to Haiti several more times over the course of a year to explore this and other issues Haitians face in a post-earthquake world. Over the course of those twelve months, I spent time in a Port au Prince orphanage, the rice fields of the Artibonite at the height of the cholera epidemic, and various rural medical clinics throughout the Central Plateau to show pieces of a nation looking for a way forward after disaster,” she said.
When speaking of the poverty and suffering taking place in Haiti, Meltz said that “the worst thing we can do is ignore these things because it’s difficult to watch. I think there are a lot of things we can do. My hope is that my photographs will help bring people a little bit closer to being there. The key is to keep paying attention. It’s absolutely important.”
Meltz became a documentary photographer to shed light on social and humanitarian issues that often go ignored and to help raise awareness on issues she feels passionate about. “Haiti is still in need of our attention and our support, and there are ways that all of us can make a direct impact on the lives of Haitians. This is why 100% of the proceeds from book purchases will be donated to Georgia based GIANT Global’s ongoing work in Haiti,” she said.
Meltz’s book will be sold at the AJC Decatur Book Festival September 3-4 at the Emory Libraries booth (corner of East Ponce de Leon Road and Clairemont Avenue). Meltz will be at the festival signing books on Sunday at 1:30 pm. Proceeds from purchases will be donated to fund GIANT’s ongoing work in Haiti.
Meltz’s book was originally a rotating collection of photographs displayed at Emory University. The exhibition remains on exhibit at the Woodruff Library through September 9. As the photos are rotated out, they are moved to the Grace Crum Rollins Building on the plaza level of the Rollins Public School of Health, where they will continue to be on display after September 9.
Meltz is an Atlanta-based documentary photographer and a staff photographer with Emory Photo/Video. Her images from Haiti received a bronze award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in the Photographer of the Year category in the 2011 Circle of Excellence Awards Program.
The Mission of The Global Initiative for the Advancement of Nutritional Therapy (GIANT) is to promote and facilitate the adoption of nutrition-based therapeutic approaches for populations around the world, and to support and encourage basic and clinical research related to nutritional therapy. Through its support and participation in scientific symposia and other forums, GIANT is working to educate and raise awareness about the critical role of nutrition in health and wellness. GIANT promotes low-cost, comprehensive, culturally appropriate and sustainable approaches to addressing the nutritional needs of people all over the world.
To see more of the photographs and to listen to an interview with Bryan Meltz, click here.