Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2011: Jan Grarup „Haiti Aftermath“

Winner 2011: Jan Grarup

First prize in last year’s highly prestigious photographic competition, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2011, went to the Danish photographer Jan Grarup for his portfolio ‘Haiti Aftermath’.

The central theme of his project, ‘Haiti Aftermath’, focuses on the massive earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010 and its consequences. Jan Grarup’s portfolio shows the extent of the catastrophe and the fate of the survivors in pictures of enormous intensity. The destruction is appalling. A precise count and identification of the victims is difficult due to the enormous devastation. Even today the number of victims can only be estimated, and the government assumes a death toll of around 300,000 people, with more than three million affected by the quake. The earthquake is therefore considered to be the most severe quake in the history of North and South America.

Jan Grarup travelled to Haiti on an assignment for various magazines to document the catastrophic consequences of the natural disaster. He sees his mission as a photographer as much more than the simple depiction of the current situation. The aim of his black-and-white shots is to generate emotion. The earthquake took everything the Haitians had: their belongings, the roof over their heads, their friends and relatives. Their lives lie in ruins. Fear and despair is written on their faces. They have lost all they ever owned and often even risk the only thing left to them in the search for food and water: their lives. The police and private security forces attempt to protect the remaining stocks of provisions and do not hesitate to defend them with weapons, as Jan Grarup’s pictures show.

Interview with Jan Grarup on Leica Camera Blog

Jan Grarup

Jan Grarup, born in 1968, has travelled to almost all corners of the world over the last 20 years, capturing numerous historic moments and, amongst these, irrefutable proof of human brutality. During the development of his projects, he often works hand in hand with aid organisations like Médecins Sans Frontières and UNICEF. He has already won numerous prestigious awards from the photographic industry and human rights organisations, such as World Press Photo or UNICEF. His work is regularly published in prominent newspapers and magazines around the world, for example The Guardian, The Sunday Times Magazine, Stern, Geo and Paris Match.