Chase Thompson knew he had something special the moment he snapped the picture.
The lighting was perfect, and he had a shallow focus.
But more importantly, Thompson, an assistant professor of filmmaking at Stephens College, saw something beyond the image of a Haitian farmer smiling at the camera. He recognized the indelible spirit of the Haitian people.
It was the image he had been waiting for.
“I had been talking to this guy, and he was in his 60s, and he was very fit,” Thompson said. “He had his arms up and was sort of leaning in, and I managed to get a perfect focus on his smile.”
The picture was recently featured in the Photographer’s Forum magazine’s Best of Photography 2016.
Thompson took the picture in 2014 during a trip to Haiti with two Stephens digital filmmaking students. The trio was there with Jodi Shelton ’87, who was in Haiti with a nonprofit called buildOn that helps communities in impoverished countries build schools.
The photograph was taken in a crowded farmers market where Thompson spotted the farmer.
“It was one of those magical moments,” he said. “It was kind of like he was giving you a big hug. That’s what I found in Haiti—these big smiles. Here were these people who had been hit so hard but still, they had this enduring spirit and optimism.”
Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Reader.