An outsider's perspective of Haiti often involves only seeing ways in which the country isn't functioning well. International aid organizations talk about "saving" it, implying intentionally or otherwise that Haiti needs saved from itself. Many foreign visitors arrive with preconceived fears shaped by panicked stories of poverty, natural disasters and disease. On a macro level, Haiti has always had serious problems, but grassroots development is making steady gains in helping Haitians improve their quality of life. The negative preoccupation with identifying symbols of dysfunction must instead be refocused to see these situations as positive opportunities for growth by building on the hard work and success stories already happening every day and all over the country.
Fewer than 30% of Haitian children reach the 6th grade resulting in an overall literacy rate of about 53%. These students at Mont Fleury Elementary School outside of Jacmel were learning in a temporary structure while a more permanent school was under construction.
The walk home from school in Port Margot involves a river crossing.
Listening at an evening AKV community meeting in Mare Rouge.
A river of trash in Cap Haitian.
A neighborhood still in ruins surrounding the rebuilt Iron Market in Port-au-Prince, a project spearheaded by British architect John McAslan.
Harvesting beans for dinner from the family garden in Cahesse.
Pressing his father's shirts with a charcoal iron.
Welding the rear bumper back onto the truck after getting side-swiped by another vehicle outside of Limbe.
Rice and beans for dinner in Plaisance by kerosene lantern. Most of rural Haiti has no electricity.
Setting off to fish the mangroves near Caracol.
Preparing fields by hand in Mare Rouge for the upcoming wet season.
Haiti was almost two-thirds forested in 1923. By 2006, that total had dropped to less that 2% due to logging and charcoal production. This massive deforestation hurts agriculture by increases erosion and top soil loss.
Sasha Kramer, founder and director of SOIL, inspects compost made from human waste collected in community toilets around Port-au-Prince.
Children filling seedling bags with compost at the Pax Christi Ayiti Garden in the Citi Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. The sprouted fruit trees grown in them are used in their community garden or sold for profit.
USAID has spent millions of dollars building this new expanse of housing near Caracol in northern Haiti to help move people out of tent cities in Port-au-Prince. Locals are concerned that this new congestion of people in an area without jobs or land to grow food will soon transform it into another dangerous slum. For the time being the houses still sit empty.
June Levinsohn, founder of AyitiKonseVet (AKV), dancing before a community meeting begins outside of Port Margot.
In the midst of an AKV meeting in Mare Rouge focused on starting a community bank amongst their members and giving immunizations to their shared sheep.
A road in the mountains above Jacmel nearly erased by Hurricane Sandy and now only navigable by foot and motorbike.
School children in Port Margot.
An evening soccer match in Mare Rouge.
Playing with a stick and loop at dusk along a trail near Plaisance.
A mother bathing her child after sundown on the roof of their house in Saint-Louis-du-Nord.
A family reading their Bible together before bed.
Brewing the morning's coffee over an open fire in Mare Rouge.
SOIL employees building house toilets in Limonade that will survive flooding without rotting like the wood versions do.
Filling water jugs from public taps in Mare Roue to carry home for cooking and cleaning. Some is also treated with bleach to be safe for drinking.
An afternoon card game in Mare Rouge.
Night skies with no light pollution other than a few candles.
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands lay west of Kauai in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Small blips of sand amongst the Pacific Ocean, these islands and atolls provide nesting locations to millions of sea birds, sea turtles and most of the 1,100 remaining critically endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals.They're also located just south of the Pacific Trash Gyre, an area of open ocean with exceptionally high concentrations of marine debris.This debris washing ashore by the ton, trashing the otherwise pristine and protected beaches. Access to the monument is restricted to scientific research and I've worked twice with NOAA and NMFS studying the Monk Seals during field camp seasons on Laysan Island and Pearl and Hermes Atoll. All photography shown here was taken under Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument permit #2012-001-L.
A critically endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal sleeps soundly on Pearl and Hermes Atoll in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, one of only about 1,100 of the species remaining.
The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are located due south of the Pacific Trash Gyre, an area of ocean approximately the size of Texas full of boyant human trash trapped by the ocean's currents. As a result, marine debris washes ashore on Laysan Island inclusive of bottles, buoys, fishing nets, shoes, light bulbs, refrigerator doors and anything else buoyant that ends up in the ocean.
Crystal clear waters at the northern end of Pearl and Hermes Atoll on a rare, calm morning.
A mother Green Sea Turtle returns to the ocean on Laysan Island after spending her night digging a pit nest up the beach and laying her eggs deep under a protective layer of sand.
These three-month old weaned Hawaiian Monk Seal pups on Laysan Island represent the fragile future of the species.
This White Tern chick on Laysan Island is only a few days old. As it grows older, the chick's brown down will be replaced by pure white feathers.
These Brown Boobies return to their nests at sunset after a day of searching for food at sea around Pearl and Hermes Atoll while their mate guarded the egg.
An adult male Hawaiian Monk Seal rests on the beach after spending the previous week traveling several hundred miles around Laysan Island and diving to over a thousand feet to feed on lobsters and eels.
A young Hawaiian Monk Seal plays with some marine debris that's washed ashore on Laysan Island. Any hoops, loops and nets are serious hazards because of the potential for entanglement.
A first touch of noses on Laysan Island between a Hawaiian Monk Seal mother and her pup, born only moments earlier.
A hungry Hawaiian Monk Seal pup on Laysan Island calling for a meal from its mother.
A Masked Booby with its chick on Little North Island, Pearl and Hermes Atoll.
Juvenile boobies use the broken US National Monument sign on Pearl and Hermes Atoll as a high perch to keep an eye on all of Southeast Island.
Noddy Terns enjoy a break from the nearly constant trade winds on Pearl and Hermes Atoll to perch (and poop on) every possible Monk Seal field camp surface.
A clear Milky Way over the Monk Seal field camp tents on Pearl and Hermes Atoll.
Two adult male Hawaiian Monk Seals fight for beach dominance on Pearl and Hermes Atoll and the attention of a female seal that has already fled the scene.
A young Hawaiian Monk Seal sleeps amongst the marine debris that covers much of Pearl and Hermes Atoll's shorelines. He's green in color because of algae that grows in his fur during weeks at sea feeding.
Clumps of fishing nets are major hazards to the marine environment of Pearl and Hermes Atoll. They damage coral after getting caught on reefs and provide dangerous entanglement potential to Hawaiian Monk Seals, Green Sea Turtles and various sea birds such as this juvenile Masked Booby.
An mess of fishing nets and other marine debris entangled on Pearl and Hermes Atoll's barrier reef.
Thousand of endangered Black-Footed Albatross chicks nest amongst the marine debris that plagues the Laysan Island.
A Laysan Albatross chick surrounded by the deceptively beautiful but tragically invasive Verbesina plant on Pearl and Hermes Atoll. It chokes out the native plants and can grown thick enough to prevent chicks like this from extending their wings and learning how to fly.
Albatross chicks use quick rain-showers on Pearl and Hermes Atoll to practice extending and flapping their enormous wings.
To get airborne after resting at sea, albatross run on the surface to gain speed. This fledgling Laysan Albatross chick is practicing that process in a calm tidal pool on Laysan Island before flying out to the much rougher Pacific Ocean.
Black-Footed Albatross nested amongst marine debris on Pearl and Hermes Atoll.
This decomposing Laysan Albatross chick on Pearl and Hermes Atoll displays a stomach full of plastic that significantly contributed to its early death.
Two Green Sea Turtles rest together on Pearl and Hermes Atoll.
A young Hawaiian Monk Seal sleeps half-submerged in the lagoon of Southeast Island on Pearl and Hermes Atoll.
A Great Frigatebird with her chick on Laysan Island. Chicks don't fledge for 4-6 months and even then receive parental care for another year, the longest period for any bird.
Brown Boobies perch on the rusting bow of a shipwrecked Japanese fishing boat on the southern tip of Laysan Island.
Black-Footed Albatross chicks on Pearl and Hermes Atoll that are almost fully grown and ready to fledge.
Displayed here are flattened versions of 360 x 180 degree panoramas from various projects. All are available for interactive viewing on my other website (www.jonbrack360.com) including tours of inside the Space Shuttle, every public room at Elvis' Graceland, the isolated beaches of Pearl and Hermes Atoll, military ruins on Midway Atoll, various facilities at Kennedy Space Center and many others. Follow links below each panorama and then click on the picture to load an interactive full-screen viewer on both desktop computers and portable devices.
Space Shuttle Endeavour's Flight Deck at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
After the final space shuttle mission in July of 2011, I had the opportunity to shoot gigapixel panoramas of all three orbiters while they were in the decommissioning process at Kennedy Space Center. This two-year project also allowed me to follow each to their new homes in Los Angeles, Washington DC and at the KSC Visitor Complex. Check out the resulting panoramas in this interactive tour and on National Geographic's website.
Space Shuttle Atlantis with missing OMS Pods and engines in the VAB at Kennedy Space Center.
A Payload Bay view from the Mid-deck hatch window of Atlantis. The Airlock had already been removed.
Looking from the Commander's seat at Bill Powers fine-tuning the interior lighting of Space Shuttle Endeavour during one of the final times that the orbiter was powered up.
The SCA 747 with Space Shuttle Discovery landing at Dulles International Airport.
Discovery perched on the SCA at Dulles International Airport.
Discovery goes nose-to-nose with Enterprise, the Space Shuttle atmospheric test orbiter that never went to space. Discovery replaced Enterprise on Smithsonian display.
The NASA "Meatball" logo hand painted on the starboard side of Discovery near the aft entrance opening.
Silica tiles, thermal blanket and painted instructions on the exterior starboard side of Discovery's Crew Module.
Looking up into Endeavour's nose landing gear while parked in the VAB at Kennedy Space Center.
The aft-end of Atlantis where the three Main Engines attach.
The copper nozzle inside of an engine at the Space Shuttle Main Engine Processing Facility (SSMEPF) at Kennedy Space Center.
Burn scarring to the silica tiles on the nose of Atlantis resulting from her thirty-three missions to space and back.
The Flight Deck of Atlantis.
The powered-up central console and glass cockpit of Endeavour's Flight Deck.
Overhead controls in Endeavour's powered-up Flight Deck.
Jay Beason communicates over the radio from Endeavour's Flight Deck to employees in the Firing Room that help control the powered-up orbiter.
Endeavour's Ku-band antenna deployed from the Payload Bay.
Endeavour's overland journey from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center led through neighborhoods, over the 405 freeway and occasionally past liquor stores, adult video stores and fast food chains like these in Inglewood.
Atlantis followed by former Space Shuttle Program employees while rolling away from the VAB for her final time.
I've had the opportunity to work in Antarctica a combined total of three years spread over six seasonal contracts and at all three of the US research stations operated by the National Science Foundation. Most of these images are from the vicinity of Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula but I've also worked a summer at McMurdo and two summers and a winter at the South Pole building the new station there. Most of the images from that winter were shot on slide film that somehow didn't survive the extreme cold, as low as -102F.
A cloud-break in the Neumayer Channel.
Torgersen Island Adelie penguin rookery near Palmer Station.
A solo Adelie penguin near Cormorant Island.
An unhatched Adelie egg on Torgersen Island.
Growing Adelie chicks on Torgersen Island.
Palmer Station, the smallest of the US Antarctic Program's three research stations run by the National Science Foundation.
Palmer Station at sunset.
A small iceberg near Bonapart Point.
A huge iceberg near Biscoe Island.
The barely frozen ocean surface is often called "grease ice" because of it's oily appearance.
An eroded iceberg near Janus Island.
A fierce Leopard Seal sleeping peacefully on an ice flow near Stepping Stones Island.
Ice caves deep in the Erebus Glacier Tongue near McMurdo Station.
Sunset colors in Arthur Harbor.
Sunset over Mt. William on Anvers Island.
Antarctic Terns on a chunk of ice near Dead Seal Island.
Surfacing Humpback Whale near Torgersen Island.
A feeding Humpback Whale in Arthur Harbor.
An Elephant Seal laying near an Adelie Penguin colony on Torgersen Island.
Rare, mirrored waters in the Neumayer Channel.
Stranded ice on the shores of the Lemaire Channel.
A fridgid swim in Arthur Harbor.
Chinstrap Penguin yoga on Jacob's Island.
Gentoo Penguin rookery at Port Charcot.
Adelie Penguins marching to the water on Booth Island.
Abandoned whaling boat on Deception Island.
Gentoo Penguin on Amsler Island.
A Skua couple reuniting on Jacob's Island.
The Ceremonial Marker at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
Reflective waters of the Neumayer Channel.
with Project HOPE
Project HOPE is a non-profit organization "delivering health education, medicines, supplies and volunteers where needed" and has worked in more than 120 countries around the world since being founded in 1958. They're often one of the first NGOs to respond to natural disasters and frequently partner with the US military in those humanitarian efforts. They also work with the US Navy and Air Force on capacity-building medical missions. I've volunteered with them on several occasions, blogging and photographing first in Indonesia as part of Operation Pacific Angel with the US Air Force and most recently in the Philippines as part of their disaster relief program after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).
Dr. Raj sews up a young girl's chin at Tapaz Hospital after she took a fall to her face at school. Philippines
Dr. Chris reviewing the charts with Dr. Ron in the nursing station of Tapaz Hospital. Philippines
Dan and Seth fixing an IV in the front of the minibus while zooming to Roxas hospital with a patient. Philippines
Dr. AK uses her ultrasound to investigate for TB symptoms in a patient. Philippines
Dan, Seth and Dr. Chris review a new X-ray of a young girl's leg at Tapaz Hospital. Philippines
Social Worker Liz learning about Tapaz Hospital's discharge and filing practices. Philippines
Boys play basketball outside of the Taslan outreach clinic. Philippines
Alison processing a long queue of patients at the Candelaria outreach clinic. Philippines
Midwife Katherine shares an ultrasound image with a soon-to-be older brother. Philippines
Dr. Barry and Nurse Veronica check a young patient at the Malitbog outreach clinic. Philippines
Dr. Raj consults with a nurse about a prospective TB patient at the Tapaz Health Center. Philippines
Dr. Chris and Nurse Nick discuss the symptoms of their patient at the San Julian outreach clinic. Philippines
At a Project HOPE funded physical therapy clinic in Carrefour. Haiti
Adjusting a new prosthetic leg. Haiti
Brachial plexus birth palsy treatment on a young patient. Haiti
Rebuilding strength. Haiti
Getting fitted for new and better crutches. Haiti
A nurse visits the Santo Domingo home of a new mother to review the plan for a successful first few months. Dominican Republic
A newborn exam in the rural Monte Plata clinic partially funded by Project HOPE. Dominican Republic
In for a checkup and vaccinations. Dominican Republic
A baby gets their next series of shots at the Project HOPE funded clinic. Dominican Republic
A father helps with administering immunizations for his son. Dominican Republic
A baby with her own immunization record. Dominican Republic
Celebrating the opening of a temporary US Air Force health clinic as part of Operation Pacific Angel outside of Pekanbaru. Indonesia
Being fitted with their first pair of glasses by an Air Force eye doctor. Indonesia
An Air Force dentist removing rotten teeth. Indonesia
Midwife and Project HOPE volunteer Denise examining a pregnant woman. Indonesia
The US Army's Sight, Sound and Smile team performing a cleft palate surgery as part of Operation Pacific Angel. Indonesia
Pediatrician and Project HOPE volunteer Susan talking with a concerned mother through assistance from a student translator. Indonesia
Young patients enjoying the opportunity to listen to each other's hearts beating. Indonesia
On July 9th, 2011, South Sudan became the planet's newest nation. After 23 years or war with the north, they voted themselves independent in January of that year and began preparing for their own country. A constitution was written but they struggled to balance the power between tribes more accustomed to conflict with each other. Infant mortality levels were among the highest on the planet and literacy rates the lowest. Infrastructure verged on non-existence, especially in the wet season when roads wash away and vast areas flood. The international community had rallied to assist after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, but building a stable country from scratch in the modern age will involve years of hard work even with that outside help. But after decades of war and the death of two million of their family members, this is a new challenge that the South Sudanese embrace with excitement and optimism. I traveled there in May of 2011 to document that transition.
Sunday church in Duk Payuel, Jonglei State.
Celebrating independence in Rumbek, Lakes State.
A blacksmith in Rumbek.
Finishing construction on the roof of a barn in Duk Payuel.
Sunset over Duk Payuel.
One of many borehole water pumps in Jonglei State donated and drilled by Total Petroleum to make clean water accessible in rural areas.
Waiting at the Duk Payuel clinic with her malnourished 8-month old daughter.
Celebrating World Malaria Day in the capital city of Juba.
Pounding sorghum for dinner in Duk Payuel.
Making a spear blade from junk metal at the blacksmith market in Rumbek.
Butchering a cow in the Rumbek city market.
Carrying water home from a public tap in Duk Payuel.
In the dry season, little grows in the area around Duk Payuel and cattle have to be moved closer to the Nile where there is still green grass to graze on.
A typical highway in South Sudan, a country with only about dozen total miles of paved roads.
The fortified United Nations compound in Rumbek.
Flanked by her older sisters who have already dropped out of school in Rumbek, this girl has little chance of getting an education above grade two or gaining any literacy.
An Italian organization, CEFA, focuses their efforts on agricultural training for returned refugees through establishing community gardens at schools. These girls outside of Rumbek are spreading seeds to sprout before transplanting.
A group of young men and women cleaning up the areas of Juba planned for independence celebrations in July.
Malteser International helps feed workers building traditional tukul homes for 70 leper families settled together in this new village outside of Rumbek.
At this school in Duk Payuel, four teachers instruct over 700 students. Nationwide, fewer than 5% of students complete primary school and South Sudan maintains the lowest literacy rate on the planet.
Reading at church in Duk Payuel from a Bible translated into the Dinka language.
The newest addition to their cattle camp herd outside of Rumbek.
Moving his herd through central Rumbek.
A woman at the Duk Payuel clinic with traditional tribal scarification, one of over 200 portraits captured during my month in South Sudan.
An older man in the Rumbek market.
A mother and her new baby at the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in Duk Payuel.
A man in Rumbek with traditional tribal scarification.
A girl in her cattle camp outside of Rumbek.
Washington DC / USA
View from the WWII Memorial at sunrise in Washington, DC.
Cherry Blossoms at the Martin Luther King Memorial on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.
President Obama boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Washington, DC.
Marine One departing the South Lawn of the White House with President Obama as seen from the top of the Washington Memorial in Washington, DC.
Second String Band at Solly's on U St in Washington, DC.
Second String Band at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC.
Jason takes a solo during a Second String Band concert at The Mansion at Strathmore outside of Washington, DC.
Brooklyn Bridge, New York City
Fall colors along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.
The MAVEN satellite on its Atlas V rocket ready for liftoff from Cape Canaveral to Mars the following day.
MAVEN with deployed solar arrays for the final time in a Kennedy Space Center cleanroom before being loaded onto a rocket its launch to Mars.
Korean War Memorial on the Mall in Washington, DC.
President Obama laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Veteran's Day. Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.
President Obama making a speech on Veteran's Day after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.
Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, New York.
Pumpkin Fest in Keene, New Hampshire.
Orbital's first Antares resupply launch to the International Space Station from NASA's Wallops Flight Faciity in coastal Virginia.
Bricks in the Flame Trench of Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center have been scarred and eroded by the fires of Saturn V rockets launching to the moon and 30 years of Space Shuttle's SRBs.
Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.
Pre-dawn at the Reflecting Pool along the Mall in Washington, DC.
The Rano Raraku quarry where all moai were carved before being moved to locations around Easter Island. Many still remain at the quarry planted half-buried but standing upright. Chile
Ahu Tongariki along the coastline of Easter Island. Chile
A fresh coat of whitewash in the mountain town of Barichara. Colombia
Tennessee Primary School's Annual Cultural Day on Christmas Island. Kiribati
Near Banana village on Christmas Island in an area previously used as a US and British military dump during nuclear testing on the atoll. Kiribati
I.M. Pei's pyramid at the Louvre in Paris. France
Eiffel's Tower in Paris. France
Behind Notre Dame's alter looking up at the Mother Mary. France
Guaitil potter at his wheel. Costa Rica
Paul removes the hook from a fresh catch off of Baja. Mexico
The first clear sunset after dodging Hurricane Hilary north of Zihuatanejo. Mexico
The marks of over a million ships that have transited the Panama Canal in its nearly one-hundred years of existence. Pamana
Just beyond the Culebra Cut in Lake Gatun while transiting the Panama Canal from west to east. Panama
Dubrovnik's Placa at night. Croatia
Red-tiled roofs over Dubrovnik. Croatia
The French Valley of Torres del Paine National Park decorated with fall colors. Chile
Rio Ascencio in Torres del Paine National Park. Chile
El Purutal in the San Agustin archeological site. Colombia
Boating back from Drua Drua Island. Fiji
Calle 17 in Mompos. Colombia
Taj Mahal visitors in Agra. India
Grandmother with her family at the Taj Mahal. India
ATV-003, the Edoardo Amaldi, launching from the jungles of the Guiana Space Centre for the International Space Station. French Guiana
The Dubai Fountain puts on a show at sunset below the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest man-made structure in the world. United Arab Emirates
A seven-star luxury hotel, the Burj Al Arab, stands shaped like a sail just offshore in Dubai on its own island in the Persian Gulf. United Arab Emirates
Parliament Square at Trinity College in Dublin. Ireland
The Long Room of Trinity College's Old Library. Ireland
London village is the main relocation destination on Christmas Island for government transplants from Tarawa, the overcrowded and polluted capital of Kiribati. These 5000 residents have few opportunities for employment, almost no access to freshwater and because the government has retained ownership of the land, little ability to lease land. It's still considered an improvement from Tarawa and people seem mostly happy and content in this faraway place. Kiribati
Annual Cultural Day dancing at Christmas Island's Junior Secondary School. Kiribati
A Strawberry Hermit Crab making its way across coral on the atoll so eroded and sun-baked that it seemed almost like natural pavement. Kiribati