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- 05 -082015

“One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces”. Eighteenth episode. Relief operations through photographs.

It is 4.53 pm, on 12 January 2010, when an earthquake rocks the island of Haiti. In Port-au-Prince, Wismond Exantus, cashier in a hotel shop, instinctively takes refuge beneath a display unit, but he is buried beneath the stone and concrete.

MA BA 100ansphoto18 1 20150 300x199 “One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces. Eighteenth episode. Relief operations through photographs.

The ECPAD team arrives in the devastated city a few days later. They are surprised by the warmth of their reception and the courage of the population. An ECPAD photographer since 2007, senior corporal Jérôme explains:

“Life went on in spite of everything, and the population seemed relatively unaffected, considering the earthquake as one of lite’s chance events”.

MA BA 100ansphoto18 3 20150 300x199 “One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces. Eighteenth episode. Relief operations through photographs.On 23 January, a man looking for food heard a small sound beneath the rubble of the hotel. Wismond was quickly located and emergency assistance sent to the site. Jérôme followed the whole operation :

“When the victim emerged, what impressed me the most was the huge silence, from when he came out of the rubble to when he entered the ambulance. It was a very solemn moment, very charged with emotion”.

The young man, very weak, was safe and sound after eleven days beneath the ruins ofMA BA 100ansphoto18 2 20150 201x300 “One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces. Eighteenth episode. Relief operations through photographs. the building, having survived on soft drinks. Jérôme also captured moments of intense emotion in the rescuers, such as the gesture of the first-aider explaining to his colleagues how he crawled and slid his arm into a hole, touching the survivor’s hand. Photographers reporting on disasters cannot just show the material damage. They have to capture powerful moments, the expressions of victims and rescue workers, like the face of the injured child in the arms of the Paris fire-fighters.

MA BA 100ansphoto18 4 20150 300x199 “One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces. Eighteenth episode. Relief operations through photographs.

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