I had a pleasant surprise when I was online last night. I discovered that one of my photos was ‘recently’ featured by the Smithsonian Magazine, winning a “Photo of the Day” recognition back in October. Granted, it’s a small victory, but one that put a big belated smile on my face! For me, this is without precedent.
Those of you who know me well, as well as those of you who’ve been following my blog from the beginning, probably know that I decided to start investing in photography gear after my first trip to Haiti back in 2010. What you may not know is that on my second visit, I brought along my first dSLR – a Canon T2i.
Once again, I was there for work. It was election time, and a cholera outbreak had grown to epidemic proportions. Most of my shots came in the last couple days. Across the street from our hotel in downtown Port-au-Prince, there were some stands selling trinkets for tourists and other necessities for those living in tents nearby. I went over there with a colleague whose name sounds pretty similar to mine. She knew the girl pictured below, and she wanted to go see her. I wish I took more pictures, but I wasn’t as comfortable with my gear then as I am now.
There is a similar color version, but this was definitely my favorite shot of the trip. I’m glad it was recognized. I’m not sure why I didn’t receive any kind of notification, but I’m not too worried about that. Overall, I feel inspired.
While I’m confident in my photography skills, I try not to delude myself. I realize my work pales in comparison to some of my contemporaries, but friends and family often don’t understand that. They’re always encouraging me to get my work out there, and this blog is in part a manifestation of that. I try my best, but I sometimes feel like I need someone to take on any and all outreach for me. Self promotion has never been my strong suit.
For example, “Girl at tourist stand” is not an ideal title… especially when submitting a photo for any kind of award. I need to put more thought into that next time around. And hopefully next time will be even better.
It was back in September that I submitted some photos to the 10th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest. I don’t think I ever had a shot of being a finalist – I never heard back… But all this has been a pleasant surprise. Since I’m so happy, here’s one more picture from that morning in Port-au-Prince. I wish I could say I was happy about the situation there. Conditions in Haiti remains dire, with hundreds of thousands of people still living in squalid tent camps. The cholera epidemic shows no signs of abating.
It’s been over three years since a powerful earthquake struck Haiti. Recovery has been slow at best. I can’t help but be reminded of the devastation I saw there as I watch the destruction in Oklahoma from yesterday’s tornado. I need to get to work soon to do my part in covering that story… from Washington. To all my colleagues, please stay safe.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all the people whose lives have been torn apart by the tornado in Oklahoma. The same is true for the people in Haiti.