Richard Mosse: The Tent Cities of Haiti

Richard Mosse for TIME
Richard Mosse for TIME
Camp Obama, home to approximately 10,000 people, was named to draw U.S. attention. Residents said they were often the target of raids by people who believed the camp received special treatment

On Jan. 12, 2010, one of the worst ever earthquakes in the western hemisphere left the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in ruins. Four months later, it was a vulnerable collection of jury-rigged tent cities, ill equipped to withstand the brutal rain and winds of the approaching hurricane season. Made of tree-branch poles and plastic sheeting, discarded canvas and corrugated cardboard, found metal and donated supplies, the tent metropolises were set up on hillsides, in front of the presidential palace and on the remains of houses and previous slums. They provided shelter for hundreds of thousands of people who no longer had a permanent place to call home.

TIME commissioned photographer Richard Mosse to explore the tent cities in May 2010. He shot with a wooden 8×10 camera, which conveyed the landscape of the tragedy in a very different way than the news photos that had come out of Haiti until that point.

Text by Jessica Desvarieux / Port-au-Prince and Neil Harris

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