January’s earthquake in Haiti prompted many people to go help — including a documentary filmmaker whose photos are in an exhibit that opens today in Louisville. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has details.
Just after the earthquake struck, Gabriel Wrye decided to fly there with a small group of nurses. Although he didn’t have a medical background, he was able to help with logistical efforts at hospitals and orphanages. And he took photos. They’re now on display at the 21C Museum Hotel.
Wrye says he wanted his photos to show the scope of the devastation.
“I wanted to pick pictures that were more mood driven and just gave people a sense of the place,” he says. “You see these buildings that are crumpled and the way the buildings fall apart, they have like an architectural structure to them that is completely unexpected. And the texture of these rubble piles is remarkable.”
The exhibit is called Tout moun se moun, which means “every person is a person” in Creole.
Wrye, who lives in Louisville and Los Angeles, says he only thought about the photos in the context of an exhibit later.
“I just kind of wanted to deal with scope, the question of how big this thing was,” he says. “And so there’s a picture of water bottles and the whole frame is just water bottles. And we were in one of the hospitals where there was an entire room that was filled with these bags of water, just thousands upon thousands upon thousands of them stacked in this room.”
He says the idea of the exhibit came to him almost by chance.
“I just sent these pictures out — I made a little web site and sent them out to people I knew and on my e-mail list. And Steve and Laura Lee from 21C e-mailed back and said we really thing these are important images. We really want to talk to you about doing a show.”
Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown are the owners of the 21C Museum Hotel. The exhibit is on display through July