Beauty in the Extremes: A Dominican Photo Book

Hey blog friends, I wanted to share with you a new project that I’ve been thinking about for the past few months. I’m going to give it a shot in 2012. Here’s what I’ve written on a site called Kickstarter to promote it:

I have been traveling for about 16 months through Central America and the Caribbean, most recently in the Dominican Republic, where I’ve visited a good part of the country working for an NGO called HOPE International. We provide microloans and small business training to the communities shown in the pictures I’ve taken. Everyday, I’m consistently amazed at the vibrancy and style of this Latin American culture of a tiny Caribbean island that boasts one of the most staggering poverty rates in the developing world. Nearly 42% of the population lives below the poverty line, and its neighbor, Haiti, is considered the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Beauty in the Extremes

My aim is to capture the beauty found in the extremes of the stunning natural beauty and in the crushing poverty to show that there is beauty in all areas of life here. The theme of my photo book will be “Beauty in the Extremes” and I’m hoping to portray the resilience and hope found in the people in the midst of their economic struggles of living on just $2-3 dollars day in one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean.

You’ll also see pictures of lush tropical vegetation, crystal blue waters, brilliant white sands, and majestic towering mountains covering the natural landscape. But also, Haitian communities where men and boys, cut sugar cane 10-12 hours a day for a few dollars, tiny concrete houses with iron bars stacked upon each other in city ghettos, smiling moms with missing teeth and tattered clothing, with well-dressed, well-fed children, and kids playing baseball with discarded water jug caps.

Travel Plans

Since I’m volunteering full time with a Christian microlending organization I’ll be able to capture more remote rural areas where photographers don’t usually go. I also speak Spanish fluently which will help me connect face to face with the people I meet.

I’m planning an in depth tour through the colonial area of the 500 year old Santo Domingo with its cobblestone colonial streets, Spanish style haciendas, early conquistador architecture and early American colonization. I’ll hitch rides on public transportation to capture the destruction derby-like highways of rush hour, half-demolished overcrowded buses with teenage boys hanging out of the side where the sliding door used to go, and the food/wares/imports markets of pure insanity.

Follow the Photo Blog:

You can follow my progress on the photo blog called: “Beauty in the Extremes.” throughout the year. I’ll continue to be working in the communities helping with our microlending program and small-business training as I travel.  I’ll be updating the titled galleries shown in this post and compiling the photos for my upcoming photo book printing in 2012.

I’m using the money from my kickstarter page to help cover the expanded equipment I’ll need to buy, travel costs of getting to certain areas, and the expenses of printing a full color photo book. Please join me in producing the “Beauty in the Extremes” photo book and I’ll send you a copy when it ships in 2012 🙂

Muchisimas gracias, Dios te bendiga,

-Aaron

Here is the link to the Kickstarter fundraising page.

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