I'm Riccardo Venturi, photojournalist since 1988. Thanks to my work, i was lucky enough to witness events that changed the lives of many of us; I have documented the post communist democratic rebirth in Albania, the phenomenon of skinhead movements in Germany, the Afghanistan war, the tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia and beyond. Today I’m here asking for your support in order to create a photo book that deserves to see the light to give voice to a population that has been sadly forgotten. But first things first.
I was working in Rome when on 12 January 2010 the news of the terrible earthquake in Haiti spread across Italy. While reading the newspapers I remembered the first time I had experienced the cruelty of the earth that trembles.
It was 1989, in Irpinia (Campania), and I was there to document the scandal of funds and the lack of reconstruction of the affected areas ten years after the earthquake.
For the first time, I had witnessed the tragedy of a land devastated twice: first by the earthquake and then by the silence of an unfinished recontruction where selfish people was profiting while the world was already looking elsewhere.
I decided to leave, and that is how the project Haiti Aftermath got started, on the spur of the moment and without any assigment, but with an intimate conviction that being a photojournalist today, when everything seems already visible and within reach, means to offer a cultural mediation service that translates moods, feelings and emergencies into images.
I arrived in Port-au-Prince four days after the earthquake and I found an upside down country and in a total state of chaos.
The city was in darkness, without electricity and water, with no more roads. Completely crumbled, the city was at the mercy of looters and criminals who plundered and burned what little remained. The bodies of the wounded were mixed with those of the dead, and hundreds of improvised signs were calling for help, medicines and basic first aid. The health emergency was overt and cholera began to rage and there was nothing to do to stem it. I was there, in the middle of the hell, while the whole world was crying the 250,000 victims, there were still 3 million people involved and the extent of the damages were not known.
However, such a tragedy shocked the consciences and solidarity was immediately put into motion: associations and fundraising groups were set up for the occasion, debates have been organized and more crude images were broadcasted.
There was a talk about Haiti everywhere, but very soon media forgotten the issue, dropping the curtain on a situation that was still dramatic and didn’t seem to improve.
After that terrible January, I returned to Haiti several times, because the only purpose of telling the tragic moment of the earthquake was not enough for me. I was also interested in understanding how this event had plagued the daily life of the people.
Five years after the quake, estimates put over 170 thousand Haitians as displaced people, 600 thousand in conditions of food insecurity, while more than 50 thousand new infections of cholera are recorded every year.
The project “Haiti Aftermath” stems both from the desire to go beyond the numbers to document, monitor, describe the state of things five years after the catastrophe and to lift the curtain that has been lowered too quickly, keeping the attention focused on the issue of Haitian population, their living conditions and their needs.
During the last years many books have been published from my projects: “Sette minuti” (2000), “Afghanistan Il Nodo del Tempo” (2004), “NO, Contro gli incidenti sul lavoro” (2008) and “De Istambul a El Cairo”(2009). This time i would like to try it in a different way, involving as many people as possible, so that this book will gain strength and become a choral project, the expression of a common will.