Willimantic, Conn: — Marc Yves Regis, prominent Haitian photojournalist, author and poet, will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University on Sept. 10 from 3-4 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of Eastern’s J. Eugene Smith Library. Regis’s presentation is part of Eastern’s popular University Hour Series.
“Through his photographs and poetry, Marc-Yves Regis will bring the island nation of Haiti, our guest’s native land, to Eastern,” said Carol Reichardt, associate librarian and organizer of the event. “After his presentation, Regis will also participate in a book signing of his latest book. Also, an installation of some of his poster-sized photographs will be available to view on the second floor in the library.”
Regis is the author of five books: “Haiti Through My Eyes,” a selection of poetry about Haiti; “Deadly Road to Democracy,” a first-person account of Haiti’s violent struggle for democracy; “Two Good Feet,” a photographic documentary of physically-challenged Haitian children; “Haiti After the Shock,” a selection of poems and stories about the earthquake in Haiti; and his latest book, “Headstrong Children, Carrying Haiti’s Economic Burden’s,” published by West Hartford-based Downhome Publishing.
“Headstrong Children: Carrying Haiti’s Economic Burdens,” chronicles the constant struggle of Haitian children who transport life’s basic necessities under bone-crushing labor in their country,” said Hartford Courant photographer Patrick Raycraft. “Regis captures and displays the formidable spirit of the Western Hemisphere’s most vulnerable and less fortunate. His work is passionate and a testament of his tireless dedication in showcasing the strength and determination of the children of Haiti. His work is a compilation of documentary photojournalism and environmental portraiture. The faces of his subjects are full of sadness, injustice, uncertainty but also humor: that incredible Haitian joie de vivre in the face of doom wrapped around imagery and poetry.”
Regis’ dream of becoming a photojournalist became a reality years after a friend gave him an Instamatic camera as a Christmas gift. With his camera, Regis traveled door-to-door and street-to-street, photographing house parties, first communions and baptisms. He charged customers $1 for each picture. About two years later, he had saved enough money to buy his first 35mm camera. His love of photography led him to seek a career in that field. He enrolled in the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and graduated with an associate degree in photography.
Regis received a Greater Hartford Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship and the National Arts Program’s Photography Judges Award. He was commissioned by the Hartford Public Library to work on a photographic project called “Hartford as Home” under a grant from the National Endowment for Humanity. The library’s curator selected 100 photographs that became part of the Hartford Library’s permanent collection. In 2004, 15 of his photographs were featured in the Smithsonian-sponsored folk life festival book, “Haiti Freedom Creativity from the Mountain to the Sea.”
Regis also is founder and director of Camp Hispaniola, an annual summer camp that provides children in Haiti and those living on sugarcane plantations in the Dominican Republic with a place to enjoy a week of exciting activities.