In the final part of our series, A Helping Hand for Haiti, NY1's Erin Clarke takes a closer look at a photography program started by a volunteer that has left a lasting impression on kids in the country.
For Wil Pierce, photography has been a way to explore and express himself.
"I always love looking at pictures and asking questions and seeing how things have changed, how people have changed over the years. Photography has taken me so many places that without it I'd never be able to experience," said Pierce.
And that was something he wanted to share with the children of the Edeyo School in Bel-Air, Haiti.
As a volunteer with the Edeyo Foundation that founded the school, Pierce and others had the opportunity to create programs that would enrich the students' lives.
On his second trip he gave the kids disposable cameras.
"Go photograph things that you like or that interest you or, you know, show me and others a perspective of Haiti that normally wouldn't be seen and something that only you could capture," said Pierce.
And the response he got the very next day:
"They all ran up to me with their disposable cameras, showing me and screaming, 'zero, zero,' showing me that their exposure was on zero, that they completed and took all the pictures on the camera, which brought joy and I feel like it was a success," said Pierce.
On Pierce's third trip he returned with the students' developed pictures and held a show and tell critique workshop.
"A lot of the pictures were really, really amazing, and some of the insight and perspectives was amazing. Some of them really gravitated towards the project and seeing, you know, the creativity of working with light and shadow and composition," said Pierce.
He expanded on the program by giving a new group digital cameras, donated by Polaroid, and taking them on a walk into town.
"They actually took time to compose and really think about the images they were making, and so when I saw that I tried to pull one or two, whoever aside and really have a conversation about what they thought," said Pierce.
Pierce hopes the program continues in his absence and gives the students a way to show others Haiti through their eyes.
And who knows, perhaps the next great photographer will come from the Edeyo School.