I think Janet has probably always been the one that showed me that. That WHEN you’re on the right path, when you’re following your true passion, doors open. streets become paved. connections are made. things come together.
I’ve had an *idea* simmering for a long time. The idea to tell key aspects of humanitarian work through the means of photography – essentially, merging my two passions and career paths, together. So I started saying it out loud. I started to tell people about it. And that’s when things started rolling … The offer of a flight-for-photos-trade to New York City. The serendipitous lack of understanding that took the idea to another level. “Documenting? I thought you said Documentary!” The serendipitous mentioning of the project to another friend who said, “Funny you should mention that … my FRIEND is a documentary filmmaker ….” The perfect timeliness of the humanitarian/documentary workshop hosted by the inspiring David du Chemin who said, “great idea, scrape together some money and go DO the work” And on and on it went.
I think at times I’ve struggled with the transition from being an aid worker, to working and living in Canada again. Sometimes I didn’t know where to couch the emotions I was feeling, or how to explain-away the sense of disconnect in my own country, to my people. And with conversations with other aid worker friends, it became clear that I was not alone. Even friends who went on from Haiti to other responses … to Myanmar, Ethiopia, Somalia and even New York … there was a shared sense of experience, but not a lot of support or a place to put them. To let them be, to let them go, to heal.
And when I kept reading articles about post-traumatic stress among returning soldiers, or documentaries that highlighted trauma and burnout among war correspondents and police officers, the idea came together. It has been a perfect merging of experience, emotion, art and expression – that has allowed me to pursue the project “Kick at the Darkness: A Photographic Journey”. I will travel to New York and Haiti at the beginning of June to work with different aid workers to tell the story of the psycho-social impact of humanitarian work, on aid workers themselves.
If you have a few moments, I would encourage you to check out the campaign site and if you feel so inspired to help be part of the community that gets me to my goal.
It’s a story coming from my heart and I believe it’s a story worth telling.
With gratitude, Amy
some images below from my last time in Haiti.
#amy brathwaite #Haiti #Trauma and Aid Work #visual Hues photography