book: STATE // Paolo Woods
Paolo Woods photographs the long term, beyond current affairs; he touches on the crux, the raw edge, of human stories. After investigating the oil industry, George Bush’s wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, the Chinese in Africa, and Iran, he decided to settle in Haiti. It was in 2010, a few months after the earthquake ravaged Port-au-Prince and the cities in the south of the island. At a time when the small republic, independent since 1804, was described only through the prism of tragedy, Woods was looking for something else: how a national identity can be forged in spite of the State.
With writer Arnaud Robert he tracked down Haitian society’s invisibles, its absurd flaws and hidden aspects. He investigated the economic elites, NGOs, the profusion of FM radios, American evangelists. Month after month, he came to realize that all the substitution powers that had come to save Haiti were actually replacing Haitian authorities. And yet, in a country whose leaders have failed ever since it was founded, the population’s desire for a State remains unaltered.

STATE shows Haiti like never before. While not ignoring the huge difficulties of a land where two thirds of the inhabitants don’t have enough to eat, the exhibition tells how a country presented as “cursed” is, above all, a place where resistance, humor, creation and culture live side by side; how the idea of a nation articulates itself around an absent State; how Haiti concentrates all the issues of a Southern nation submitted to the winds of globalization that the combined efforts of the international community are not capable of addressing.

Rather than the after effects of the drama, Paolo Woods wanted to understand what constitutes the everyday life of a country, and even its normalcy. Because this fraction of an island tells more than its own history and represents more than a singular destiny, STATE questions processes that extend far beyond Haiti.

STATE is published by ÉDITIONS PHOTOSYNTHÈSES in Fall 2013.

Click here to the feature

Click here for more information about the book
feature: The Office of Hope // Natalie Keyssar
tearsheet: Franck Bohbot's 'I Am An Actor' in D La Repubblica
tearsheet: Rafal Milach photographs 'The Lost Faces Of Lublin' for FT Weekend
feature: The Couture Club // Luca Locatelli
tearsheet: Dougie Wallace documents London's East End for M Le magazine du Monde
feature: Karass // Hannah Saunders
project: A Story of Bears // Sylvie Huet
tearsheet: Franck Bohbot's 'I Am An Actor' in L'Obs
feature: You Lovely Swans // Gergely Szatmari
project: This Is Where I Live // Wendy Ewald
feature: Red Pars Whole // Martha Fleming-Ives
feature: Shatila // Armando Perna
feature: Separate Amenities // Vincent Bezuidenhout
feature: The Way // Sam Phelps
tearsheet: Lauren Greenfield's 'The SoCal Network' in D La Repubblica