Evan Brockett, PPD Volunteer Photographer.
When his childhood friend was unable to go, Evan jumped at the opportunity to join Project Picture Day as a volunteer photographer in Ile-a-Vache, Haiti in 2017. Everything about the organization spoke to him since he was also teaching at school at the time. “The best times of my life have been spent traveling abroad for the purpose of photography, so it made perfect sense,” says Evan. In a matter of days, his family and friends helped him raise the funds he needed and then he was up for a unique experience and also a tough one at times. Pictures, rain, children, schools, and treks through the muddy roads of this small island are some of the memories that Evan is sharing below.
Thank you, Evan. Volunteers like you make our mission possible!
Tell us about your experience in Haiti with Project Picture Day?
First of all, the team was top notch. Jennifer, Jules, Meg, and Rachel are a solid gang. You really can’t ask for a better group to laugh through a tough situation with. I personally don’t know a lot about Haiti except for what you hear in the news, so I didn’t really know what to expect. It turned out to be a wonderful experience. There is a colorful vibe in Ile-A-Vache and I’m happy I got to spend some time in a place without paved roads where nature really dictates the pace of life. We ate fish from the ocean and probably a few chickens that we saw running around through the week. One of the homies grabbed us fresh coconuts straight from the tree.
What was your impression about Haiti and the communities that you visited?
People were very welcoming to us. Haiti is totally one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The language, the food, the culture, everything went as well as we could have asked for.
Where did you stay while in Haiti?
We stayed in a non-profit hotel on the island. I bunked with Jules. Our front door was 10 feet from the softest sand I’ve ever had the opportunity to stand on. We were also 50 feet away from the gorgeous water covered in fruiting trees and flowers. I saw some of the most wonderful sunrises and lived through the most intense weather, lots of rain.
What did you like the most and what were some of the challenges?
I loved the scenery. The color scheme in Haiti is unlike any other. The rain was only as bad as the mosquitoes, but the mosquitoes were bad. We also traveled via boat or by foot and all of our gear was on our back. Traveling on muddy trails was tough and some of the schools we visited were pretty remote. The nightly storms also messed with our schedule.
As a photographer, what did you learn during this assignment?
As a mostly available light photographer, Jennifer taught me a lot about how to use off-camera flash. She’s an expert so it was a treat to learn from her. The kids are tough to get a smile out of sometimes, but it was fun to interact with them through the common ground of a camera.
Would you do it again?
Yes, totally, nothing would stop me.